GOSSAMER is an exhibition curated by artist Zoe Bedeaux that brings together 22 artists who all work with the medium of tights or stockings. The second exhibition at the gallery’s new Margate space will feature works from early-twentieth century pioneers including Man Ray and Louise Bourgeois through to celebrated figures including Sarah Lucas and extend to contemporary talent such as Enam Gbewonyo and Ma Qiusha. GOSSAMER is sponsored by Heist.
THE PREMISE: The show is a survey of artists who have used tights/stockings within their practice; as material or image.
THE POWER OF THE PANTY HOSE: Allen Gant Sr., then running textile company Glen Raven Mills, was inspired by his wife’s lament. “How would it be if we made a pair of panties and fastened the stockings to it?” he asked Ethel. She stitched some crude garments together, tried them on, and handed the products to her husband. “You’ve got to figure out how to do this,” she said. Allen brought his wife’s experiment into the office, and with the help of his colleagues Arthur Rogers, J. O. Austin, and Irvin Combs, developed what they later called “Panti-Legs.” Their product – the world’s first commercial pantyhose – began lining department store shelves in 1959.
2019 marks 60 years of Tights!
HOSIERY AND ART: Pantyhose within the context of art inspires a complex emotional dialogue. They can be used to give form to various figurative sculptures. Or used in a more abstract manner. They can be subject as well as medium. But what happens when artists use a material that has been constructed to function around intimate parts of the female form? (Before the advent of stockings and tights women’s legs were never seen). What power does it have as a material: one that is visible yet invisible, a material that has liberated the female form like no other? (Historically it was the men whom wore the tights… But that’s a whole other story). What are the social and political estuaries emanating from the premise? How are considerations of Race, Gender and Sex bound up in these gossamer threads?