Brilliant candy-like colors and nostalgic images overwhelm the senses in this theatrical installation, which offers imaginative new ways of seeing, hearing and participating with the world around us. Drawing from women’s fashions from bygone eras—including Amish bonnets from her childhood adventures in Pennsylvania and her grandmother’s circa-1930s hat collection—Janice Jakielski has created a stunning collection of handmade headdresses.
At first glance, the meticulous craftsmanship lends an authority to the pieces as functional objects, but a second look reveals the absurdity and imagination at play. If worn, the bonnets would obscure one’s sight and hearing, transporting the wearer to a place of solitude—one that might feel either particularly welcome or isolating in the current age of sensory overload. By allowing the viewer to envision wearing these odd but fascinating pieces, the artist creates a “threshold space between reality and the imagination” through her works.
Jakielski embellishes her forms with embroidery and porcelain adornments depicting flowers and birds. She carefully selects the floral imagery for each work using the language of flowers or floriography—a Victorian-era means of communicating with flowers to send messages—adding coded meaning to the individual works.
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