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Now on view in Santa Fe
For Karen LaMonte, printmaking is “recording an event…capturing a single moment;” describing how ink meets paper to leave an indelible impression. Her series of Sartoriotype prints are monotypes, each created from ink-soaked garments. LaMonte gathered the vestments from thrift and second-hand shops: children’s party dresses, men’s overcoats, jeans, wigs, even false eyelashes—all bearing ineradicable traces of their former owners, providing glimpses of the absent wearer’s story.
Thematically, the Sartoriotypes are connected to the larger body of work that LaMonte shaped during the early 2000s: Absence Adorned. Like much of the sculpture that comprises the series, the prints ask us to consider how clothing influences, shapes, and reflects identity. However, these works have not been extensively exhibited. This exhibition brings forward a selection of these remarkable works – many of which have never been seen by the public.
In 2001, having just completed her Fulbright year in Prague, LaMonte took an opportunity to work with an industrial-scale press—powerful and large enough to realize her vision of using clothing as printing plates. Applying hydraulic jacks to press fashions saturated with ink, LaMonte transcribed the texture of material, buttons, bows and seams, to paper. In some examples, she used paper that was itself made from reconstituted clothing. The resulting works expose imprints of the bodies that lived in these clothes; torn stiches, stains, a coin lost in the lining of a coat—many of which were not visible to the naked eye, but documented by the printing. In this way, as LaMonte puts it, the Sartoriotyopes are “ X-rays” laying bare the marks of the past.