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Seattle Art Fair

August 1 - 4, 2019

New York

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Artist Information

Throughout her career, LaMonte has explored representations of the human body, and the ways clothing shapes and reflects cultural norms and perceptions. More recently she has broadened her focus to examine other kinds of bodies, while continuing to base her work on a rigorous process of research, contemplation, and technical development.  

After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1990, LaMonte began working with blown-glass sculpture of marionettes.  As the scope, scale, and ambition of her work expanded, she began to make life-sized sculptures of glass dresses, winning a Fulbright scholarship to create sculpture in the Czech Republic, and completing her first such work, Vestige, during her Fulbright year.  At this point, LaMonte also began to suggest an absent body in her dress sculpture, probing the ways clothing divides public and private spaces and accepted behaviors. 

 

In 2006, LaMonte received a seven-month fellowship to work in Japan, where she studied the ways clothing directs Japanese social discourse and acts as language.  Focusing her study on Kimonos, and their role in Geisha and Kabuki culture, LaMonte created a body of work entitled Floating World, comprising a series of Kimono sculptures in bronze, glass, ceramic, and rusted iron.  She presented these works in a solo exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art in August and September 2017. 

 

Following Floating World, LaMonte created her most recent complete body of work, Nocturnes, so named for Frederic Chopin and John Field’s atmospheric Nocturne compositions.  Intrigued by civilizations’ concept of ‘night’ as metaphor for the unknown, LaMonte engaged in a study of how artists across numerous media, genres and time periods, have sought to express night-time.  She then conceived her own expression of night, fashioning female forms dressed in evening wear she herself designed—“female figurations of night”—and fabricating these works in materials evocative of twilight and deep night. 

 

In conversation with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2013, LaMonte discussed how she creates a new work, a process that always involves research, and usually leads to a new technical challenge to overcome: 

 

…the thing that comes first is the conceptualization:  the idea for the sculptures. That’s one layer of research, which I adore. And then usually it takes months and months for the ideas to come together and a vision becomes clear. Then the second phase is realization and that usually entails a bunch of material research and material studies. Definitely if the ideas I’m working with push me into a new material, I’m always thrilled at the challenges, because I do love learning. And I think it’s very very healthy to access your creative mind to solve technical problems as well.

 

In this vein, LaMonte took on extraordinary technical and conceptual challenges to create the monumental sculpture of a cumulous cloud she exhibited at Glasstress, in the Palazzo Franchetti at the 2017 Venice Biennale. To model the cloud, she worked with climatologists to pinpoint the dimensions of an actual cumulous cloud, then scaled these measurements down to devise a seven-foot tall, two-and-a-half ton marble version.  In so doing, she gave form to the celestial, making the diaphanous solid and the ephemeral permanent.

 

LaMonte mounted her largest exhibition to date, Embodied Beauty, at the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN, from May 25 to September 2, 2018.