Seeking Cover

Seeking Cover

Catherine Latson, Fern Dress

Catherine Latson Fern Dress, 2013, Spanish moss, preserved Adiantum fern, bamboo, silk, cotton, hemp, 32 x 18 x 6 in. Photo: Dawn Watson Photography

Catherine Latson spent 20 years as a professional scenic artist, painting sets and special effects for film and television, along with opera, ballet, and theater companies across the country. Then one day she made the switch to sculpture. “There really wasn’t a transition from one to the other,” says the artist, who lives in Westchester County, New York. “It was more like an about-face. I was struck by an idea, put down the paintbrushes, began sculpting, and never looked back.”

Latson’s Garment series uses organic materials to probe the meanings of what we wear. “Clothing,” she points out, “is a uniquely human experience” –  what other creature dons a covering, a shell, a suit of armor to face the world? “I decided to turn that experience, the language of clothing, on its head,” she says. “I wanted to offer unconventional versions of the packages we put ourselves in and, perhaps, too often define ourselves by.” Fern Dress suggests that, while we are part of nature, we insist, through our garments, on standing apart.