What My Grandmother
Didn't Teach Me (2020)
When artist Caroline Rust was a child she loved playing dress-up with her grandmother’s clothes, hats, gloves, and the cosmetics on her dressing table. She says she can still recall the lipsticks’ waxy scent, the feel of the fox stole, and the warmth of the gloves upon her hands. Many people seem to have an innate desire to add color to their faces, lips, and adorn themselves with glamorous, luxurious clothing. Curious as to why, is it to feel grown-up, pretty, pampered, feminine, or to attract attention? Exploring this aspect of femininity, this work’s influence is the ritual of wearing and employing such garments as a bed jacket, for expression. This installation captures some of the nuances of a woman’s journey from being a little girl, playing with clothing, to adulthood’s complex world of sensuality and maturity.
Why Bed Jackets ?
Rust says that many of her memories are made of feminine objects and clothing, like bed jackets and compacts; set aside from her grandmother. The artist is compelled to use these materials in her work, as they are evocative reminders of family and life lessons. One of Rust's most favored garments, as a child, was a blush colored bed jacket. Simultaneously, it instilled a sense of maturity, elegance, with a bit of security yet riskiness too. These sophisticated souvenirs, of a time of luxurious glamour, provide a backdrop of low-relief grounds for paint application. Each perhaps metaphorically acts as a theatrical platform, stages made from garments. Aiming to be commemorative, installations and series in the body of work speak to the evolution of femininity and the way individuals wrestle to live within what is socially accepted as feminine.