Marky Kauffmann, The Dressings Project

February 7 - March 2, 2024

The Dressings Project

I want to examine the idea of gender.  How do you identify a female?  In Michelle Tolini Finamore’s essay, “A Curator’s Perspective” from the exhibit "Gender Bending Fashion,” she states that clothing “serves as a primary means of non-verbal communication signifying identity.”  Traditionally, donning a dress identified a person as female.  When men gazed upon us wearing dresses, they had a certain notion of who we were – i.e. members of the “second sex” as described by Simone de Beauvoir in "The Second Sex."

With this project, I want to take back the dress in the same way that women during the 2017 Women’s Marches took back the color pink by wearing “pussy hats.”  My dresses have become symbols for all that I love about identifying as female.  They are elegant, bold, creative, sexy and surprising!  For me, an ardent feminist living in a patriarchal world, the creation of the original chemigram is like a dressing that soothes a wound.

With these dresses, I celebrate the power and possibility of all things female. I want to live in a world where those who identify as women and girls can be and do and wear whatever they want.