Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Opera Atelier Costume Designer wins Award

Photograph of Sleeve Detail of Countess Almaviva Costume by Ingrid Mida 2010

A few weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of photographing two of the Opera Atelier costumes from their recent production of The Marriage of Figaro. While handling these gowns during the shoot, I was struck by the exquisite detail and workmanship. Note the delicate sleeve detail with the ribbon roses in the photo above.

Photograph of Countess Almaviva Costume Petticoat Detail by Ingrid Mida 2010

I was compelled to photograph the beautiful petticoat peaking from underneath the overskirt of the gown worn by Countess Almaviva. This petticoat would not have been visible as it is otherwise completely hidden by the overskirt. Only a true artist would care what lies beneath. For this reason, it was not a surprise to me when I heard that costume designer Martha Mann won an award last night for her work on this production.

Martha Mann received her first Dora Mavor Moore Award yesterday for Outstanding Original Costume Design for Opera Atelier’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. The Dora Mavor Moore Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of Toronto’s performing arts industry annually in five categories: General Theatre, Independent Theatre, Dance, Opera, and Theatre for Young Audiences.

Working with Martha Mann on The Marriage of Figaro was a thrill for the entire creative team,” said Opera Atelier’s co-artistic director Marshall Pynkoski.  “We are delighted that her superb artistry has been celebrated in her debut production with Opera Atelier.”

Congratulations Martha!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Roughing it in the Ravine

 I don't copy it. I talk about it.

Doris McCarthy used to say this a lot when discussing her paintings. In her prolific career as a landscape painter, Doris captured the essence of her subject matter, whether it was an iceberg, a meadow, a rock or a lake. During last week's workshop at the Doris McCarthy gallery at University of Toronto's Scarborough campus, I had ample time to drink in the deceptively simple beauty of her hard-edged abstract landscape paintings from the 1960s. With forms like a rock refined to their most elemental shapes, the strength of her composition and her masterful use of colour became evident when I attempted to copy one of the works as a learning exercise.

I find it hard to properly express the utter joy I felt while sitting on a riverbank sketching the rocks and while looking up at a towering cedar tree attempting to capture the rhythms and essence of the forms. With all the recent tumult in my life, I drank in the beauty and majesty in nature like a thirsty wanderer.  Doris McCarthy once described the process of drawing as "you are actually constructing...not what your eyes saw, but what your head understood about what your eyes saw" (Art Impressions, Winter 1993).

Workshop instructor Barbara Sutherland told us many stories and anecdotes from her 20 plus years of  friendship with Doris McCarthy. The one that really made me chuckle occurred when Barbara and Doris were on a painting trip together on the east coast of Canada. Barbara began the story by saying that Doris rarely stopped for a break during a day of painting. But one day, Barbara came back to the cabin around 1130 am and found Doris resting on the couch reading the book "Conversations with God". Barbara asked Doris what was wrong and Doris pointed to her painting from that morning and said something like "If I can't be a good painter, I may as well be a good Christian". Thankfully Doris put that painting aside and continued to work. For her, mistakes were an inevitable part of life and a reason to laugh. (This means I  should be laughing on a regular basis!!!)

On July 7, 2010, Doris McCarthy turns 100 and on that day, Mountain Galleries invites artists from across Canada to "go outside and paint a panel to celebrate McCarthy's 100th birthday with us." They will have an on-line exhibition of the results and are hoping to have over 200 participants. From the entries, twenty works will be chosen for a gallery exhibition this coming September and one participant will be invited to join the galleries stable of artists. For more information visit the Mountain Gallery website.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Roughing it in the Bush

Cover image from the exhibition catalogue from Roughing it in the Bush
A 100th Birthday Retrospective of the work of Doris McCarthy

Roughing it in the Bush is the title of an exhibition which celebrates Canadian artist's Doris McCarthy's 100th birthday. Curated by Nancy Campbell, the show highlights work that remains relatively unknown, including her hard-edged abstraction series from the 1960s.  In these paintings, Doris played with movement and form, rendering land, water and sky in simplified abstracted forms. In the words of the curator, "these rarely seen paintings provide a departure point to view the masterful landscapes of Canada for which McCarthy is so well known."

At the packed opening on Saturday at the Doris McCarthy Gallery at University of Toronto's Scarborough Campus, the crowds in attendance spoke to the enormous affection people feel for this gifted painter, teacher and mentor. Besides creating a wide and unparalleled body of work, Doris McCarthy was the first woman President of the Ontario Society of Artists and was a prominent figure in the Canadian art scene for many decades. Although Doris wasn't at the opening, there was a live video feed to allow the birthday girl to hear the remarks, cake cutting ceremony and curator's talk. Happy Birthday Doris!!

To my regular readers, it might seem odd that I am writing about an artist who is known for her abstracted landscape images of Canada. What does this have to do with fashion? And the answer would be very little, but my huge admiration for Doris McCarthy as a person and as an artist is making me step outside my box. 

About ten years ago, I met Doris McCarthy during a Scarborough Arts Week open house. We chatted about painting in the living room of Fool's Paradise, her home and studio since 1932. She autographed her memoir A Fool in Paradise, An Artist's Early Life as follows: "To Ingrid, with good wishes from the fool herself, Doris McCarthy". 

And this week, instead of working in the fashion milieu, I will be taking a painting workshop with her neighbour and painting companion, Barbara Sutherland.  We'll be roughing it in the bush in the beautiful Rouge Valley ravines and I'll be painting landscapes, something that I've never done before. I'm not sure why I am drawn to it now, perhaps it is because I've recently been spending a lot of time in Toronto's ravines using nature as the backdrops for my fashion photographs. The beauty of nature is calling to me. 

From the series My Mother/Myself by Ingrid Mida 2010

I'm going to take a page from Doris McCarthy's life. "I want to be the kind of person who says yes." (A Fool in Paradise, page 234).  

June 19 to July 24, 2010

Doris McCarthy Gallery
University of Toronto Scarborough
1262 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario Canada

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Raw Suffering of a Woman by Lesley Haas

Photo credit: Ben Franke

Paper artist Lesley Haas, who I featured in a profile earlier this spring, currently has two pieces of her work in the exhibition Revealing Culture at the Smithsonian Ripley Centre in Washington DC.

Photo credit: Ben Franke

In RAW SUFFERING OF A WOMAN (which was built directly on its mannequin), Lesley Haas created a visual representation of her pain, struggle and upheaval in creating a new life with her son after a divorce and after a decade of living abroad. This sculpture is made of handmade flax paper, the New York Times newspaper, Women's Wear Daily, antique hooks, brads, tuille, muslin, and elastic.

Photo credit: Ben Franke

In the hanging piece called BEFITTING A VIRTUOUS WOMAN, Lesley recreated a Renaissance styled gown out of abaca, unryu momi, and raffia for an exhibition in the 12th Century Hospital Santa Maria della Scala in Siena.

Photo credit: Ben Franke

These two works of paper exhibit a high level of craftsmanship and beauty. From my own experience, working with paper on this scale is incredibly difficult as it is liable to tear. The fragile nature of the medium alludes to the fragility of life and the inherent suffering that is an inevitable part of a woman's life's journey. 

The Revealing Culture exhibition will be on display at the Smithsonian Ripley Centre until August 29, 2010. To see more of the work of Lesley Haas, visit her website here. And to see more photographs by her talented son, Ben Franke, visit his website here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Lesson at Hand & Lock Embroidery School

As a self-taught embroider, I have longed to improve my skills. After attending the lecture given by Hand & Lock CEO Alistair Macleod at Seneca College in March, a lightbulb went off. I would be in London in May and take a lesson at Hand & Lock’s School of Embroidery.

I exchanged several emails with Sara Meanwell, head instructor at Hand & Lock and a graduate of the Royal School of Needlework, and we decided a day long private lesson would expedite my learning. I sent her images of my textile based artwork along with a wish list of the things I wanted to learn. This list included: proper working techniques, transferring my drawings onto fabric, embroidery of letters, creating colour shading with satin stitch, achieving smooth lines with stem stitch, creating the illusion of fur, and use of sequins and beads.

Situated in a hip part of London near the Oxford Circus tube station, the offices of Hand & Lock are jammed with works-in-progress, samples, and boxes containing treasures of beads, sequins, gold, silver and other embellishments. I could have happily spent hours investigating, but all too soon it was time to begin my day of training.

In a quiet room upstairs, I put on my reading glasses and my apprenticeship began. Highly skilled and incredibly patient with me, Sara demonstrated a technique and then would watch as I attempted to replicate her example. More than once, my stitches did not measure up and she would smile and tell me to rip it out.

What I learned was that embroidery is not something that can be done quickly. Smooth perfection is created with a single strand of embroidery floss and the tiniest needle imaginable. Great care must be taken where the needle is placed. A small petal done with the silk shading technique takes an hour to do well, and that is only possible if every other stitch doesn’t have to be ripped out.

As much as I enjoyed my day, I left leaving a little uncertain about how I would use the skills I learned that day. Sara and I joked around about how I would need to bring her to Canada to have her sit with me in my studio to rethread my needle. If only I’d learned embroidery when my eyes were younger!!

To be honest, I still have to counter that feeling that I will never achieve the incredible perfection and beauty that I admire in the work of professionals like Sara.  I have to tell myself that it is okay to embroider with two strands of floss and a larger needle. After all, my work is conceptually based and perhaps has a charm and beauty of its own. And besides, I like doing it, which is more important than perfection anyway.

Hand & Lock School of Embroidery is located at 86 Margaret Street London, England. For more information on classes, check their website at www.handembroidery.com.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Review: The Concise Dictionary of Dress

The Concise Dictionary of Dress

As I wrote in my exhibition review earlier this week,  The Concise Dictionary of Dress at the Blythe House is a rare and extraordinary experience. The viewer must interpret the word clues to create their own meaning for the eleven site-specific installations which combine history, costume, language and artifacts. The accompanying book is an illustrated dictionary unmasking the subtext of the creators vision.
Title: The Concise Dictionary of Dress
Author: Judith Clark and Adam Phillips
Photography by: Norbert Schorener

Publisher: Violette Editions in association with Artangel 2010
Number of Pages: approximately 140 (pages not numbered)
Category: Non-fiction
Price: US $26.37 (Amazon)

What the book is about:
This exhibition catalogue consists of three parts:
1. an essay called Look it Up by Adam Phillips about the nature of dictionaries and the language of clothing
2. an alphabetical presentation of the words that are defined in the exhibition The Concise Dictionary of Dress along with a photographic presentation of the installations (included in this part are five words which were not installed at Blythe House)
3. a series of questions about the curation of the exhibition posed anonymously to Judith Clark

Favourite Passage:
Clothes, another of our languages, another of our codes, another of the forms our histories take, keep changing, like words, but faster; and, like words, everybody uses them, and, whether they are conscious of it or not, everyone has their own style, just as everyone has their own vocabulary. The reason that people are disdainful of fashion is that they fear that many of the things they value most in their lives may be more like fashion than anything else. In this sense, dictionaries are always fighting a rearguard action; not against fashion, but against its inevitable excesses (it has to keep changing; ithas to be something no one can keep track of). We have to imagine what a language would be like if it was like this. So there are no fashionable dictionaries (or indeed, fashionable definitions). And there can be no obvious dictionary for clothes, fashionable or otherwise, no straitforward reference book. The Concise Dictionary of Dress is, then, an unobvious dictionary; not a book, not made only out of words, but not without reference.  (Adam Phillips page 18)

Although I had access to a press kit, this book was essential to help me attain a deeper level of understanding to what I saw at the Blythe House. Written in a scholarly and dense manner, the book gives a voice to the creators vision, unlocking their insights and intentions which I craved to hear while on the tour.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Exhibition Review: The Concise Dictionary of Dress

1. a book containing a selection of the words of a language, usually arranged alphabetically, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, etcetra expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary;
2. a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names or facts usually arranged alphatetically
 Source: Webster's Encyclopeadic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language 1994 

Conformist, Photo by Julian Abrams 2010

The Concise Dictionary of Dress is a site-specific art installation that explores the art and language of dress within the confines of the Blythe House, a storage facility of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Commissioned by Artangel, the creators Judith Clark and Adam Phillips insert clothing, accessories, cast objects, photographs in surreal and evocative tableaus within the V&A Museum's reserve collections. Clues to the interpretation for the eleven installations are provided through cards with definitions of dress terms written by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. These words were chosen because of their association with fashion and appearance and included: armoured, comfortable, conformist, creased, essential, fashionable, loose, measured, plain, pretentious, tight.

Armoured, Photo byTas Kyprianon

The Blythe House is the working storage facility of the V&A Museum, and as such attending The Concise Dictionary of Dress requires advance planning and security clearance. Only seven people are admitted at twenty minute intervals for a docent-accompanied tour and tickets cannot be purchased at the venue. Over the course of the exhibition which continues to June 27, 2010, a maximum of about 5000 people will see this unparalleled presentation with the confines of the Blythe House. 

From the moment I buzzed the security officer to allow me access through the fenced-in grounds to the time I returned my security pass to the clerk, I was conscious of being in a place that few people have ever seen. Once the home of the headquarters of the Post Office Savings Bank, the Blythe House now is home to the reserve collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as the Science Museum and the British Museum. Security is tight and this means that visitors must leave all bags and purses behind in a locked storage cabinet and groups of seven are accompanied through the exhibition by a guide. Leading the way through a labyrinth of corridors, these guides yield a huge ring of keys, distribute the definitions at each installation, and issue frequent reminders not to talk inside this working facility.

Having had access to the press materials before setting foot in the Blythe House made my experience somewhat different than the average person. And yet  in spite of my advance preparation, I was utterly astonished by the unexpected juxtapositions of a dress tableau beside a row of Roman wall reliefs, a wall of swords, or a massing of antique furniture.

Fashionable, Photo by Julian Abrams 2010

This exhibition was decidedly different from anything I've ever seen. Clark and Phillips created eleven tableau that required effort to understand. In the end,  this exhibition was anything but a dictionary to define the meaning of dress. In the absence of standard museum labeling, the viewer was forced to make connections between the definition and what was on display. In fact, this conceptually-based presentation stepped into the realm of contemporary art.

For example, for the word Plain, there were a number of dressed mannequins covered in Tyvec material. The definition given for the installation and the word Plain was 1. nothing special where nothing special intended. 2. Hiding to make room. Underneath those Tyvec covered mannequins were in fact Balenciaga gowns. In spite of the iconic shapes, the only way I knew this for sure was by reading the book that accompanies the exhibition.

Plain,  Photo by Julian Abrams 2010

My favourite tableau was a presentation of a muslin/calico gown elaborately embroidered in 354 hours of work by Rosie Taylor-Davies. Designed and commissioned by Judith Clark, the embellishment on this gown was based on a William Morris design which was drawn in hand in pencil, painted and worked in coloured stranded silk thread and a variety of metal threads and spangles. Accompanied by the definition Conformist, this pinned-together gown was a breathtaking display of craftsmanship.
Conformist,  Photo by Julian Abrams

There were other tableau in the exhibition that had me struggling to find the deeper meanings and connections between the definitions and the displays. Observing such installations like part of a dress for Junyu Watanabe for Comme des Garcons in a leaky coal bunker for the definition of Creased left me feeling vaguely uncomfortable and at times confused. Even so, I was undeterred and welcomed the challenge to create my own meaning.

Creased,  Photo by Julian Abrams 2010

The Concise Dictionary of Dress is a unique exhibition that blurs the boundaries between art, psychology and fashion. Challenging the viewer to re-interpret clothing and accessories in terms of anxiety, wish and desire, this site-specific installation also offers a rare opportunity to engage with the background of objects contained within Blythe House.

Pretentious Photo by Julian Abrams 2010

If you are lucky enough to live in London or to be traveling there before the exhibition closes on June 27, 2010, don't miss this extraordinary presentation. Tickets can be purchased at artangel.org.uk

As well, on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 630 pm, Judith Clark and Adam Phillips will talk about how their respective interests and ideas are expressed through The Concise Dictionary of Dress. This talk will be moderated by Lisa Appignanesi at the London College of Fashion. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance by emailing rhs@fashion.arts.ac.uk.

The Concise Dictionary of Dress
Judith Clark and Adam Phillips
Blythe House, London W14
April 28 to June 27, 2010
Presented by Artangel

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memories of a Wedding Dress by Linda Griffith

My Mum and I aren’t exactly in the same dress camp. One might say that our tastes are a little different although far from worlds apart. We do, however, share a mutual admiration for each others ‘style’ except on a very few and far between occasions when one of us might be heard uttering, “you aren’t wearing that are you?”

My childhood memories are scattered with images of my Mum getting ready for a night on the town, standing in front of a long narrow mirror, left foot in gold sandal, right in silver, turning her body fluidly from East to West as she judged the angles, or the curves or the flounces, the fabric swirling like a life-force around her slender frame.

Wear that one Mummy. Wear the pink satin. Please, please wear the pink satin,” I pleaded from the double bed, kicking my feet by way of emphasis on the bobbled coverlet. There would follow a list of unsatisfactory reasons as to why my first choice wasn’t suitable: neither warm enough, nor long enough nor comfortable enough. Fashion fob-offs, which meant little to me and seldom swayed me from my shiny choices, but cemented her selection as non-negotiable.

Standing on the bed I could help with the zip, pouting belligerently over her shoulder and into the mirror, looking like a grumpy parrot. In an effort to compensate she artfully left the choosing of the jewelry to me, and easily diverted I would delve with determination into her jewelry box, and retrieve my favorite baubles from the velvet encased wooden jewel box, which was unceremoniously stuffed under the bed.

There were a few dresses I almost coveted, but not many. I liked them on her, but didn’t think I would like them on me. Except for one – her wedding dress. This dress I wanted above all else, with a passion so intense it could reduce me to tears. I would stand in front of the only picture she had of her wedding day with my Mum and Dad in black and white standing shoulder to shoulder, the serious smiles on their faces misleading compared to the passion and spontaneity that marked their half-century as man and wife. My Mum’s dress hovering just barely on the very edges of her shoulders and three wide tucks sweeping to interlace like fingers near her breastbone. I imagined the fabric meeting there, like a material metaphor for their lives joining right at her heart. Somehow the photographer managed to blur the lines so the edges are shaded which leaves me eternally squinting to see which tuck lies under and which lies over, as though they are caught in an embrace and one can’t see exactly where one body ends and the other starts. And then it stops. The portrait is taken waist up, and barely that.

Many times my Mum has described the dress to me - the ballerina length,  the tight waist,  the full skirt creating a perfectly inverted V, the lack of bows and scallops and fringes, and the clean simplicity of line. She has drawn it for me as best she can remember. She has pointed out satin backed taffeta, which replicates the feel but not the shade. She has measured on my longer legs where the hem would fall. She has draped sheets and tulle, and pulled them in tightly cinching my waist, but her efforts leave me hungry for more.

She lent this dress to a friend whom I presume over time became a distant friend and then an acquaintance and somewhere in the decay of their relationship the dress vanished from a tangible treasure and became a single picture of history.

Five years ago I had the photo enlarged to mark the occasion of my parents 50th wedding anniversary and it stands behind me, reflected in my computer screen, so I catch glimpses of my parents smiling at me over my shoulder as I type. Occasionally, I swivel my chair and lose myself in thinking about them, and their marriage, and what their wedding was like. Many of my questions have been answered either by experience or by interrogation, but the dress remains a mirage. It’s like a sealed letter, which I cannot open.

The irony here lies in the fact that I know with unshakable certainty that I would have LOVED that dress, wanted it, worn it, adored it. It is exactly me, more so than perhaps anything I ever saw my Mum wear in full length, 3-D form. It’s a fairytale dress with a magical hem, and although I often change the ending according to stylish whimsy, the top third of the dress confirms that it is indeed a beautiful ending.

by Linda Griffith, Toronto, Ontario

Friday, June 4, 2010

Opera Atelier Costume Sale - Part II

This glorious dancer costume from Opera Atelier was one of my finds at last night's Costume Sale Runway Show and Cocktail Reception. In fact, it was included in the Runway Show and I waited outside the dancer's dressing room to lay claim to it!

This beautiful pale yellow and blue silk "Round Peasant" gown was worn during an Opera Atelier performance by Lucy Calvett and comes with a pannier,  heavy petticoat and fully boned corset. Not having a lady in waiting on hand this morning to help me lace up the back, I had to hold the corset closed during the photograph. The gown weighs over ten pounds and gives me a new found appreciation for how graceful and elegant the dancers are in spite of that extra weight.

I also purchased a heavily beaded burgundy velvet with lace gown worn by dancer Natalya Gomez in Coronation of Poppea. That gown is also surprisingly weighty. I intend to photograph both gowns as part of my 18th century inspired self portrait series a la Cindy Sherman. And I'm tempted to go back to the sale today to see what other costume finds I might uncover.

Opera Atelier's Costume Sale continues today June 4 and tomorrow June 5 from 1-5 pm and is being held at:
All-Canadian Self-Storage
1 Laird Drive at Millwood Road

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memories of A Fashion Plate Mom

When you grow up as the daughter of a fashion plate, the lessons of fashion are learned by osmosis. Artist Lesley Haas, who uses fashion as a source of inspiration for her artwork,  has described her mom as a fashion plate.

Lesley has fond memories of watching her mom dress up for events. As a a fashion writer and publicist and board member of Fashion Group Philadelphia, Phyllis Haas had to dress well for her job. And Lesley remembers her energetic mom in "out of the ordinary attire, quite different from my friends' mothers, going to work every day and keeping up with the fashion trends. She worked hard and enjoyed these galas and events and loved to dress for each occasion."

In this photo, Lesley's mother and father are dressed for a holiday party in a beautiful building on Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. Phyllis is wearing a black velvet sleeveless gown with a scoop neck circa 1960.  Although Lesley no longer has the dress to check the label, she recalls her mom being label conscious and really enjoying dressing up for parties. Lesley also remembers that she "would run around upstairs watching her get ready while my father generally complained about going, as he wasn't a fashion plate like she was.."

For many people, photos like this take us back in time, bringing back happy memories of watching our mothers dress up. For Lesley Haas, fashion has become a source of inspiration for her artwork and two of her works will be on display at the Smithsonian International Gallery in the Revealing Culture exhibition, June 8-August 9, 2010.  (To read more about Lesley's work, read her profile here or visit her website here.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Opera Atelier Costume Sale

 Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea; Artist: Peggy Kriha
Dye; Photo Credit: Bruce Zinger 2009.

When I first heard that Opera Atelier would be having a costume sale, I was almost tempted to keep this information to myself. After all, the less people that knew about the sale, the better chance I'd have of acquiring one of their exquisitely made 18th century styled gowns or ballet dresses. But after chatting with Marshall Pynkoski, Opera Atelier's charming director, my conscience got the better of me and I'm shouting out the news to the world here.

Although it seems hard to fathom how this successful opera company can part with any of its costumes, Marshall explained that the idea first popped into his head a few years ago when he and co-director Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg came across a sale of costumes at Opera Garnier in Paris. This sale, held about every ten years, made them realize that even a large company like the Paris Opera cannot afford to store every costume ever worn. Storage is very costly. And over time, a company's aesthetic changes.

In the beginning, Opera Atelier's costumes used to be driven by style and elaborate detail - with silk and lace with embroidery and beading. Marshall said "Each costume had an extraordinary amount of handwork and the costumes became so elaborate that you simply could not go any further. An enormous amount of money was spent on embellishments." 

It was during a rehearsal of Medee in 2002 that Marshall realized that it was time for a change. He watched an actor rake his hands through his hair to make a dramatic gesture but recognized that this would not be possible if the actor put on the elaborate wig for the period.  He asked himself "what was this scene really about?" and instead of allowing fashion to take pre-eminence over the drama,  dispensed with the wigs. With the change in hairstyle, the costumes needed to change. Marshall began to look for a more refined aesthetic, stripping away the extraneous embellishments but "keeping the silhouette of the period and the size and volume with less to distract the eye". In so doing, "fashion was the means to an end". The costumes became less about the external and more about the interior, "what was going on psychologically for the actors".

Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro; Artists: Nathalie Paulin and Daniel Belcher;
Photo Credit: Bruce Zinger 2003. 

This refinement in aesthetic and the mounting costs of storage have culminated in this sale of Opera Atelier costumes. With the help of his operational staff, Marshall looked at each and every costume from Opera Atelier's twenty-five years of productions.  The process was "both cathartic and nostalgic but also extremely difficult, especially the first round of picks". Often he would come across something that would remind him of a particular production, actor, or dancer and want to keep it. He had to force himself to become more ruthless. (I was sorely tempted to discuss the embodiment of memories and clothing at more length for my research). Two representative costumes were chosen from each production for archiving and a number of other important pieces were set aside for possible donation to a museum.

There will be approximately 400 Opera Atelier costumes for sale at prices ranging from $50 to $250. For the benefit of Opera Atelier, I hope many of you will attend the sale, but watch out for my sharp elbows!! (I am looking for a gown or two to use in my upcoming self-portrait series a la Cindy Sherman.)

Mozart's Don Giovanni; Artists: Curtis Sullivan and Nathalie Paulin; 
Photo Credit: Bruce Zinger 2004.

Opera Atelier Costume Sale
Runway Show and Cocktail Reception
June 3, 2010  6-9 pm   Tickets $25

Sale continues June 4 and 5, 2010 from 1-5 pm (free admission)

All-Canadian Self-Storage
1 Laird Drive (at Millwood Road)

Call 416-703-3767 ext 25 for more information