Monday, January 14, 2013

Hanging Out

I wonder if I've already showed you this painting? Have I? It was made in October for a small show in Baltimore on the history & stories of Baltimore Row houses. I've been thinking a lot about fashion, and clothes, and how we interpret each other based on what we're wearing. I've never been particularly interested in fashion, yet here I am with a business in the industry, and an art career noticed mostly for what my characters are wearing, or dressed inappropriately for. Making this painting, I was inspired by a photo of a group of women from the 50's(?) in wacky looking house dresses, scrubbing their marble steps in Baltimore (a tradition widely remembered in the city, it seems). It struck me as such a simple nice neighborhood activity. It also made me realize how very recognizable the outfit is as a housewife uniform. Woman stayed mostly in the home to clean and cook and run households, and thus must have had this (albeit slightly involuntary) interesting comradery. Now this is not to say that I dislike the idea of wearing a colorful potato sack around the house all day, and gabbing to my girlfriends (wait... I actually kinda do that, but it's called running your own business now) but I mean for the dresses hanging out to dry to be a little high five wink to the fact that we gals have the choice to don other uniforms these days, and leave the house if we choose. The line of them hanging makes me think of rowhouses themselves, which in Baltimore are very colorful, and all built shoulder to shoulder by the block full. When women in the middle of the century began leaving home for more exciting careers, hanging up their housewife uniforms... I have this picture of row houses (once full of this battalion of restless ladies and cats and babies all in colorful potato sacks) suddenly sat empty during the day... sort of like a line full of empty laundry, and similarly quiet. Though maybe a little messier... And bigger... and still full of cats... actually, there is real real point to this particular blogpost... You can just look at the nice painting if you want.

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