The Fourth Wall

The Secret Lives of Dresses

“painting”
Nancy Youdelman, Ophelia's Dress
“painting”
Suzanne Lacke, For Bobbie's Prom'
“painting”
Nancy Youdelman, Evening
“painting”
Suzanne Lacke, Yesterdays Gone

The Fourth Wall Gallery is pleased to present the work of Nancy Youdelman and Suzanne Lacke in an exhibition titled, The Secret Lives of Dresses.

For over forty years Nancy Youdelman has created sculpture using found objects, bronze, and encaustic. She has the distinction of having been part of the very first feminist art class that was taught by Judy Chicago in 1970 at California State University, Fresno. She continued her participation in the Feminist Art Program at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, where she participated in the internationally acclaimed project, Womanhouse, receiving her BFA from CalArts and her MFA from UCLA. While in Cal Arts she created her first clothing pieces in remembrance of watching her mother sew “…her hands using pins, buttons and thread to create exquisite dresses for me. My father died when I was nine, and after that my mother took us to the cemetery for picnics. We would spread a blanket by his grave, eat lunch, and just be together. My sister Rachel and I would wander about, looking at grave markers, wondering out-loud about the people who were buried there. I developed a curiosity about the part of us that is aware and alive: we are born, experience things deeply, have desires, and then poof—we die. All that is left is what we leave behind: our possessions, such as photographs, clothing, and the material objects that were once so important to our existence.”

For Suzanne Lacke, dresses arouse conflicting feelings. “On the one hand I like to look at dresses and fabric and drew them a lot as a child but, on the other hand, I did not like being dressed up by my parents and being told I could not go into the woods to play. Being dressed up and ready to be viewed was at once exciting and at the same time took me out of myself and made me feel uncomfortable. I have loved painting as a tactile experience, the feel of pushing the paint around and of the mixing of colors. Painting fabric gives maximum opportunity to engage in depiction, texture, study of light and shadow and color. The dresses begin as inanimate objects but, in the best of them, gain personality and a reliving in the process of painting them. Painting is an act of establishing my independence from the one being observed to being the observer."