Lesley Dickman - Salt & the Dress

Wednesday 23 May - Sunday 17 June 2018

Click here for artwork by Lesley Dickman

“Salt is part of our everyday language: salinity, desalination and rising sea levels are all associations which are tangible and immediate. The saltworks in the Geelong area, with their salt heaps and salt ponds, provided a rich visual resource for exploring these associations. Juxtaposed against this background are personal memories of fabric and the process of dressmaking.

The images of white crusty ponds of salt, dried cracked earth and the rich textual surface of matted sea grass and brine surrounding the ponds evoked memories of the beautiful fabrics and crafted dresses that came from a household where fabrics, patterns and dresses in various states of construction were woven into day to day existence.

Dresses hold memories, they have a history, a story to tell. There are interesting narratives that could be told - about the process of choosing a dress for various rituals and occasions and how this feeds into personal identity. It is also a signifier of social context, a symbol of femininity, a code for apparent success particularly when designer labels are attached. There are many such issues associated with feminine identity and female portrayal that are brought to question.

Overlapping the two themes, like a bitter sweet narrative, creates a counter balance; the sometimes romantic and nostalgic images of the dress meshed with the taste of salty bitterness and environmental damage.

This dialogue between Salt & the Dress provides the platform to explore our relationship to nature and our social constructs.”
Lesley Dickman