Karen LaMonte (American, born 1967), Reclining Nocturne 3, 2016, rusted iron, Loan courtesy of Karen LaMonte

Reclining Nocturne 3 (2016)

Karen LaMonte

Karen LaMonte (American, born 1967) works with various materials including cast glass, iron, and bronze to create life-sized dresses. Many viewers may be familiar with her glass masterpiece, Ojigi Bowing (2010), in the Museum’s Permanent Collection. In both Ojigi Bowing and Reclining Nocturne 3, LaMonte uses the lost-wax technique to render fine details of both the cloth and traces of the body underneath in the molds she creates for casting. In her work, LaMonte embraces and celebrates the feminine while highlighting the sensual and erotic nature of the body. In dresses such as Reclining Nocturne 3, 2016, seen here, she subtly subverts the tradition of reclining nude figures by removing the body, only leaving behind a hollow dress.  Simultaneously, she constructs an identity and a narrative about her subject without any identifying characteristics. Despite not knowing the exact identity of this woman, LaMonte creates an individualized portrait.

Currently, LaMonte lives and works in the Czech Republic. She graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and later worked in glass centers such as Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle and UrbanGlass in New York. LaMonte’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions and acquired for museum collections around the world.

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