Brides and Opening Ceremonies

Performances were done in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Oakville

The sculptural forms are the Brides and this exhibition plus performance traveled to several cities in Canada. At the Oakville Gallery in Ontario I was able to have the dramatic entry and tableau of the elegantly tuxedoed men alongside the beautiful lake. I always adapted the performance to the space and in this case the outdoor to indoor procession of the men referenced the actual weddings that actually are photographed in this location.

The performance took place with six men who, paired each to one bride, proceeded to woo, guard and protect her. This was done in conjunction with a live audience who walked throughout the performance piece, asking questions, making small talk or interacting in some way.

The performance was a social comment on the roles we assume as part of our mating process. It reflected a type of institutionalized behavior coupled with the notion of “romance”. The postures of the brides are passive. They are costumed, poised, pure and above all, waiting. The men in the performance also assumed postures indicative of a stereotypical culturally determined male behavior. Both the Brides, inanimate, and the men, animate, were meant to reflect a sense of confinement which is a result of performing a social ritual which has clearly defined progressions and less clearly obvious limitations.

The performance was intended to cross boundaries between the comic and the tragic, thus giving the view of the human condition in our own particular culture. It was more about the formal paraphernalia with which we often surround our relationships rather than about the relationships themselves.

It should be noted I have an abiding love of absurdist theatre and writings.

Brides and Opening Ceremonies (Edmonton 1981)

Brides and Opening Ceremonies (Oakville 1985)

The Brides (1980-1981)

Fabric sculptures used in the performance Brides and Opening Ceremonies

Approximately 4 feet by 11 inches

Mixed fabrics and acrylic paint

These pieces were made with a performance in mind. Each piece is constructed of fabric, often with painted additions on it, sewn onto a backing. I had tried to find someone to sew them for me but had no success. So I learned to do it myself. I had a small Singer sewing machine that was for “tea towels”. It worked well although certain areas had to be hand sewn.

Each “Bride” has the name of a woman I know and respect. Ann is my mother; Julie and Lily are my aunts; Ara, a friend; Barb, a fellow student at NSCAD who was a strong feminist and who eventually took her own life; Rosie, a former roommate of mine who also took her own life They were all colorful personalities, all strong minded and strong willed. These sculptural forms are a way to remember them. Each piece is approximately the height of my mother.