Anne T. Kmieck

The Art of

In my search for what it means to navigate the world from a female body, I use the dress form as a metaphor to explore a wide range of subject matter.  History is as much a medium as the fiber, wax, and other materials integrated into my installations.  Actions and images on the dress surface can evoke biological, social-political, or religious-philosophical forces that bear upon female beings.  Treatment of the outer surface of the fabric range from layering and manipulation to traditional textile techniques such as embroidery.  Embedded in each work’s process is my preoccupation with transcendence and beauty, two concepts that are deeply rooted in the quest for what it means to be human.

What is the drive behind my focus?  As many creative persons will testify, we draw from our own lives, seeds that were sown in our childhood.  I was surrounded by strong, independent thinking women of several generations whose spouses were completely at ease with sharing governance in all matters.  In school, Catholic nuns reinforced this everyday practice of gender equality.  Imagine my surprise as I tried to comprehend the world from puberty on!  I continue to be baffled by the widespread obsession with shaming women and girls into passivity incapable of moral agency and leadership.  Which major human rights crises have been caused by beings with uteruses?  Now that scholarship complicates and further enriches our understanding of gender, sex and identity, it is even more urgent that we understand how groundless many prejudices are surrounding our bodies, and how debilitating they are to our wellbeing as a species.