Relics of Marriage

The Relics of Marriage series began as I viewed my own dress for the first time since my wedding years ago. Full of stains that marked memories of that distinctive day, it led me to consider the wedding dress as a human artifact—as a relic charged by the hopes and dreams of the woman who wore it.

For many, the dress is the most iconic and memorable aspect of the marriage ceremony. Its color, physical presence, and adornments are signifiers of the transition for the woman wearing it—of her movement from individual to half of a couple. Each wedding dress holds innate qualities, often seen as holy; as a near perfect, untouched form. Once the wedding takes place, however, the dress becomes obsolete in a way, losing its purity and symbolically indicating our societal regard for the bride herself.

From this inspiration, I am taking these relics “out of the box” and using them both literally and figuratively to create mixed-media installations and photographs. I have collected over sixty pre-viously worn wedding gowns and have documented how they appear and hang in space. These public experiences evoke inner and outer dialogues that begin with the charged and changing concept of marriage today.

As our society is slowly embracing the idea that marriage is not just women marrying men, will the big white dress become completely obsolete within our culture? How will we hold on to or let go of this gendered visual icon? What does the white dress mean if the traditional heterosexual values that it served to exemplify are already fading into gray?

Like many of my past projects, the Relics series explores the many forms —hidden and exposed—of the feminine body and spirit. Through my investigations of revealment and concealment, I hope to provoke simple questions that open to infinite complexities. How do we appear to others? Why do we cover ourselves? How does our attire reflect and deflect the world we live in?

www.RelicsofMarriage.com

A two-minute video of the first day of the Relics of Marriage installation at Castleberry Hill, Atlanta, GA, 2012: