The Bedroom Dress

Oil on canvas, sealed yarn & burlap, goldleaf
yr. 1995
“The Bedroom Dress”: The ‘mother’ of all LiShinault “Difficult Women” series.

My life had been pulled back and forth emotionally. Feeling inspired and happy, I went through scraps of old painted canvas and came across an unfinished portrait of a lovely yet sullen faced woman. By this time I was already cutting apart canvas and sewing it together in specific ways. I cut her head and neck away from what was nothing much more than a dark brown background. I decided to bring to life a sketch I made years back of the shape of a hoop skirted lady made out of items from my childhood bedroom.
The chest of drawers torso has a bottom drawer holding a young goat with large adult size ram horns painted brightly. Baby in a drawer: I remember learning that my mother, as a baby had been kept in the open drawer of a bureau such as this. The round flat pillows are meant to suggest a flat bosom. The ram represents great strength to me.
Books are stacked on her head (something I still paint into my work at times). The title of one of the books almost became the title of the “Difficult Women” series…”The Chronicles of Dress”.
Here the ‘hoop skirt’ area is made up of green shag carpet (my childhood bedroom was covered in this stuff). A rustle of clothing hangs from underneath the skirt along with ‘portraits’ of shoes from my closet.
Arms sprout from the chest of drawers torso. They hold red stockings with dangling feet and a row of dog shaped paperdolls, and black yarn…
I wanted her to have a modern yet iconic presence, so I outlined her in a kind of obnoxious cadmium yellow medium, and gave her a goldleaf halo.
I donated it to a charity raising money to help those dealing with Aids called ArtCare where it found a loving home with a person who recently reached out to me.