This Dress Belongs to …Fact and Fiction. Sculpture by Cheryl Kennedy and Linda McLean


The exhibition of sculpture by Linda McLean and Cheryl Kennedy entitled “This Dress Belonged to … Fact and Fiction’ displays a highly imaginative and original approach to ‘portraiture’ – faces are not completely shown, if at all, and yet each sculpture describes in detail a real or imaginary woman in history.

Cheryl Kennedy’s journey of exploration covers a period from the 1830’s to the early 1900’s. Her wall sculptures are metaphors for the lives of women in her own family history. As she says “How they lived their lives may not have been remarkable, but their courage and fortitude and the love that they had for their families have taken me on a journey of reflection.”

She has sculpted each dress from rusted, shaped metals and wire, mixed with found objects and vintage laces. She adds “From the rooster placed in the pocket watch honouring my beloved Nana, to the photo carried by Cousin Laura of her brother who was killed in the First World War, each dress has a unique relationship to the woman that it represents”

Linda McLean’s dresses use quite different sculptural techniques, and they too describe ‘portraits’ of women in history, this time women from her imagination. She invents the narrative of women from the 19th Century, focusing on their roles, challenges, obstacles and opportunities. Inspired by materials from her personal collections of found objects, vintage fabrics and historic photographs, Linda has created sensitive and descriptive life stories. As she says “The stories dictated the necessary objects and materials, which in turn refined the details of the narratives – one thing leading to another”

Both artists’ wall sculptures present a fascinating narrative of the lives of these fictional and factual women of the past.

14 June – 2 September [Gallery closed 2 July – 3 August for winter break]

Hours Thursday – Sunday 11am – 5pm