Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal

July 27, 2019–January 19, 2020

Curated By Kate Stern

Dress Rehearsal showcases numerous and unexpected ways a dress can be depicted and interpreted. Using out-of-the-ordinary mediums expressed through sculpture, installation, painting, photography, and collage, this exhibition celebrates both the imagination of the artists and the theatrical nature for which the show is named.

Artists featured include Marina DeBris, Alexandra Dillon, Cheryl Simon Ekstrom, Carolyn Hampton, Dosshaus, Michael Kalish, Melissa Meier, Kenton Nelson, Janet Taylor Pickett, Leigh Salgado, Gwen Samuels, and Mary Tuma.

Interview With The Curator

Why is this exhibition relevant right now?

There are several works in the exhibition that speak to issues that are prevalent today. One body of work by artist Marina DeBris is made entirely from beach trash found along the California coastline. Her work asks us to take a look at what we are doing to our environment and our ecosystems and marine animals when we thoughtlessly, or worse, purposely, throw trash along our shorelines. This series, entitled Trashion, is also a term originally coined to describe art couture costumes and more currently a word used to describe a trend to use repurposed materials when making wearable clothing and accessories. In the work shown here the artist is using actual trash to create Trashion.

What is the meaning behind the name of the exhibition?

The title Dress Rehearsal is a play on words. In theater or any other artistic performance, the dress rehearsal is the final rehearsal of a live show and one in which everything is done as it would be in a real performance. Typically these are for invited audiences who are the first to experience a performance and therefore it is unique to them. And just as theater invites us in and plays with and distorts reality, so does this exhibition with the very nature of the dresses and our preconceptions of what a dress can be made out of, what lies beneath, and what we choose to cover ourselves with. The show also has a strong sense of play so the title speaks of that as well.

What are the different mediums used in this show?

So much of what I love about this show are the unusual materials used to make many of the dresses. They include gummy bears, hand stitched photo transparencies, cardboard, eggshells, sea sponges, sea shells, beach trash, metal, glass tiles, and more traditional mediums such as paint, paper collage, and photography.  Dosshaus’ cardboard-constructed costumes and what appears to be a dressing room for a show are a perfect example of the element of play suggested by the title. Another example, and an artist whose work inspired the show itself, would be Melissa Meier’s Skins series. These dresses and “constructions,” as she calls them, are all made from elements found in nature like pine cones, stones, sea shells, sticks, etcetera, and are very theatrical in nature. Her work to me is larger than life and the materials are all relatable yet taken out of their original context.

What is the one thing you want people who come and see the show to take away with them?

I personally love artists’ imaginations and their willingness to explore and express it in artistic form. I hope visitors feel a sense of joy and expansiveness. Since some of the works reference personal and historical struggles placed upon woman by society, both in the past and sadly still today. Some address the importance of play and are celebratory. Others are just wild imagination in their design and construction. I know it’s a catch phrase, but I really do hope people will leave this exhibition thinking outside the box themselves and seeing where they can perhaps broaden their own thinking and behavior.



  • Exhibition Reception
    Saturday, October 5

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