Southern Utah artist Fiona Phillips wants you to think about what it means to be a “housewife.” In an exhibition titled, “Glamorous Work,” opening Friday, October 8 at the St. George Art Academy, visitors will see paintings and sculptural pieces re-visiting imagery of the 1950s housewife.
“My new body of work began with inspiration from looking at old snapshots of my mother in her lovely dresses from the 1950′s and 60′s and also from research I have been doing about the advertisements targeting and creating the glamorous housewife or ‘domestic goddess,’” said the artist of her work.
“To me, the depiction of women in dresses and heels doing housework, though completely impractical, and definitely outrageous, still speaks to a certain generosity of thought that women can do all the ‘maintenance work’ of reproduction, and still maintain the feminine,” Phillips said.
The sculptures also illustrate this “maintenance work” – they are dress bodices adorned with sponges, tablecloths, and other symbols of housekeeping. An experienced seamstress, Phillips, created and decorated the dresses herself.
The dresses will become a part of a performance piece by the St. George Contemporary Dancers during the opening reception of her work on Friday, October 8, at 5:30, just prior to the Fall Gallery Walk, which begins at 6:00. Dancers will both wear and dance around the dresses, acting out their interpretations of Phillips’ work.