Kimono Maquette 1, Crouching, 2012
Karen LaMonte (American, b. 1967)
Purchased by University Museums with funds from the Joyce Tomlinson Brewer Fund for Art Acquisition. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Karen LaMonte is an artist whose sculptures examine the female figure, through the addition of draping gowns and culturally significant costuming. Unlike the traditional nude figure often found in sculpture, here the body is absent, leaving behind the clothing that cloaks, or in some cases accentuates, aspects of the body. Kimono Maquette 1, Crouching resulted from time LaMonte spent in Kyoto studying all aspects of the traditional symbolism of Japanese dress. The Kimono Series was a significant shift in LaMonte’s work that had most often relied on depicting Western style dress and cultural ideals and allowed her greater insight into the importance of dress and identity throughout diverse cultures. When choosing clothing for every day, or for an important event in one’s life, how does one choose what to hide, and what to accentuate or alter in one’s physical form? The Japanese kimono is cloaking the body accentuating the waist while hiding the skin. Nocturne 5 seen in Morrill Hall, is cloaked in a gown, but this gown is still very revealing of the nude figure underneath. What does this reveal about beliefs on beauty, femininity, perception or identity?