Favorite Things: Evening Dress with Shawl

Miriam MartinezEvening Dress with Shawl by Karen LaMonte is a favorite of Miriam Martinez, the Museum’s Membership Coordinator.

Have you ever seen something and felt like you had seen it before? That’s pretty much what happened when I walked into the Museum’s Ben W. Heineman Sr. Family Gallery of Contemporary Glass about seven years ago and saw this incredible, translucent life-sized dress.

Evening Dress with Shawl

Evening Dress with Shawl, Karen LaMonte (American, b. 1967). Czech Republic, Zelezny Brod, 2004.

The dress was softly illuminated from above. A glass shawl was draped over imaginary open hands, as if someone was caressing a treasured dress, or committing a precious moment to memory. I could even see the imprint of fingers in the shawl. It was if I was looking at the innermost details of a frozen moment in time that might have happened long ago or just a minute ago.

Fashion has always been very important to me, even when I was a little girl; more so as a teenager. This was a dress I could imagine myself wearing to a ball. I wonder how many visitors, particularly teens, must stand before this dress, made by American artist Karen LaMonte, envisioning themselves wearing it to their prom or wedding.

Fascinated by LaMonte’s work, I wanted to see more. I didn’t have to go too far. The Museum also has her Blue Dress, the size and style of a little girl’s dress.

Blue Dress, Karen LaMonte

Blue Dress, 1998

The sculpture is made of glass that gently shifts from translucent to opaque in hues of deep-blue and green/turquoise, with ruffles on the sleeves. You can almost see the little girl who loves it. I look forward to walking through the Museum with my granddaughter and standing in front of this life-sized dress. I wonder what she will be thinking.

I have a deep appreciation for artists such as LaMonte, who have devoted their careers to creating sculptures that have extraordinary visual appeal, but also dare us to imagine, think, and, yes, even dream, of what if’s.

View Evening Dress with Shawl and Blue Dress in the Museum’s collections browser.