“In all of my artwork, I have been exploring the idea of beauty. It is a fascinating way to study the values of people and society. From 1999 until 2007, my artwork focused on exploring the idea of beauty through western dresses in cast-glass inhabited by absent bodies. In 2007, I decided to look at beauty through a unique cultural lens, that of Japan and the Kimono. The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission awarded me a seven-month research fellowship.
"The fellowship allowed me to live in Kyoto and study every aspect of kimono making. I lived in Nishijin where I learned about weaving, yuzen dying, and even how to properly wear a kimono. I returned to my studio to focus on the material realization of the new works. The entire process took about seven years and resulted in a body of work I call the Floating World. I worked with four materials: rusted iron, cast bronze, ceramic, and cast glass.” Karen LaMonte, October 23, 2013
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Karen LaMonte Floating World illustrates LaMonte's works in bronze, ceramic, glass and rusted iron along with essays by the artist and Laura Addison, the Curator of Contemporary Art at the New Mexico Museum of Art. Karen LaMonte is a world-renowned contemporary artist who has gained international recognition for her life-sized cast-glass sculptures of dresses emptied of their inhabitants. Having focused for a decade on dress styles and drapery characteristic of Western society from the dress of classical statuary to the sumptuous flow of cloth in baroque painting and sculpture LaMonte turned her attention to Japan and the clothing that most embodies that culture: the kimono.