Wedding Dresses for a Young Woman Drawing (2006)
Paying homage to a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, titled Portrait of Mademoiselle Charlotte du Val d’Ognes, these pieces contemplate the life of the female as artist versus the traditional role of one half of a couple. The painting was acquired by the museum in 1917. At that time the painter was anonymous though thought to be Jacques-Louis David. However, it is now believed to be painted by a woman, Constance Marie Charpentier or possibly even Marie Denise Villers. Artist Caroline Rust first encountered this painting in 1991 and it stopped her in her tracks. Drawn to this woman, Rust felt a powerful pull to her by what seemed to be a knowing she shared with her. She has appeared in Rust's work since then.
"I relate to the psychological content of the work as an artist, as a female artist. I see a dual longing in Mademoiselle’s eyes. She desires to be everything that society dictates her to be, an attractive woman, a devoted wife. Yet she also has a longing to be an artist. In the 19th century a woman represented at a window was construed as cage, confined, and trapped. Is this piece suggesting that she is trapped inside with her art? Is a woman “with art” scorned by society? And the couple outside, because that woman is in a relationship, is she given freedom in society? Is the work on the drawing board is guiding her way?"