Three opera-inspired suspended sculptural works by noted New York artist E.V. Day are on exhibit in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum through Sept. 30, 2012.
Carmen is on view in the lobby of Meadows Museum; Merry Widow and Hats are suspended in the Bob Hope Theatre lobby of the Meadows School’s Owen Arts Center.
All three works are from Divas Ascending, a series of 14 suspended sculptures made with retired costumes from the New York City Opera’s archives, a collection composed of wardrobes from prominent international opera houses. Dresses from Carmen and The Merry Widow originate from the New York Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera, respectively; Hats is made up of pieces from numerous houses. Divas Ascending is presented by the Salomon Contemporary gallery in New York.
“I make sculptures that transform familiar icons of women’s empowerment and entrapment into new objects that confound conventional readings of these clichés, and constellate meaning in a range of emotions: anxiety, ecstasy, liberation and release,” said Day (pictured right). “In my art, I use tension to suspend, stretch, and shred garments and to create forms that I liken to futurist abstract paintings in three dimensions. The challenge…was to do justice to the retired costumes, which still have a majesty and degree of craftsmanship unlike any I’d ever encountered.
“I wanted the sculptures to reflect and refract the specific roles the costumes had played,” she continued. “The interplay between the story of the opera from which each costume came, the moment created by the sculpture, and the physicality of the transformed garment – its materials, its shapes, its colors, floating in this celestial space – is the work that I hope viewers of my installation will appreciate.”