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"Opera Coat Design"
David Lovett, "Opera Coat Design," 2006, drawing.
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"Detail from Madame Butterfly coat"
Ann Hergert, detail from Madame Butterfly coat.
THE OPERA COAT PROJECT
Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton
Oct 7 – Dec 16, 2006
Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton
November 4, 7, 9, 2006
By Gilbert A. Bouchard
Deanna Finnman, a professional costume designer with the Edmonton Opera adds that a costume designer creates practical works of art that are almost never seen from less than 20 yards away while a visual artist produces work that can easily be admired up close.
Finnman is one of the curators of the Alberta Craft Council’s Opera Coat Project, an exhibition of 16 one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art and highly fanciful opera coats. The show splits the difference between disparate practices.
The 21 artists — ranging from seasoned costume designers, fabric workers and painters, to multi-media artists, including one artist who works in glass — will create a collaborative showcase of art, working with people from outside their own disciplines.
High-profile participants include internationally-recognized visual artist Joane Cardinal Schubert, master dyer Emily Park-Koll, paper maker Barb Pankratz, metal and jewellery artist Jeffery Wilkins and theatre designer/educator David Lovett. Designs range from abstract references to symbols and traditions associated with the operas (Todd Safronovich and Kathleen Todoruk’s Carmen costume is based on an esoteric colour wheel pattern loosely connected to events and characters in the Bizet opera) to fanciful but more direct visual statements (Anna Hergert’s lush kimono-style Madame Butterfly gown mimics the markings of actual butterflies).
The wearable and functional nature of the pieces is designed to get viewers thinking of the universal nature of ornamentation expressed in clothing, says Tom McFall, executive director of the Alberta Craft Council.