Victorian mourning culture meets craft and contemporary performance.
Martha McDonald's performance at Craft Victoria, Monday 8 March 2011. Part of the exhibition The Weeping Dress, running 11 March to 21 April 2011.
Martha McDonald is an interdisciplinary artist whose work features handcrafted costumes and objects that are activated through gesture, singing and autobiographical narrative. The Weeping Dress comprises a performance and installation arising from detailed research into Victorian mourning culture.
Mourning wear was traditionally made from wool bombazine or crepe. The dyes used to colour these fabrics were often plant-based and unstable, staining the woman’s body in the rain and heat. McDonald will construct a mourning dress out of black crepe paper, which will be activated in performance to release the fugitive dye. The transformation of the dress and the stain it leaves behind suggest presence, absence and our own impermanence.