Friday, 20 September 2013

Bestworkwear in the Spotlight! products are in the spotlight thanks to the work of British artist Susie MacMurray. Her piece A Mixture of Frailties, currently on display at Danese-Corey in the heart of New Yorks’ gallery district, was created using rubber work gloves, purchased from Although she has had work shown in a number of international museums, this exhibition, titled Walking on the Rim of Night is Susie’s first solo show in New York.

The yellow washing-up gloves are turned inside out and stitched onto calico to create a stunning, textured ‘gown’ which invites the viewer to reach in for closer inspection.

The use of objects such as hairnets, rubber gloves or fish hooks in her work is a reference to the body (often specifically the female body) and the daily repetitive tasks and rituals which have traditionally been associated with the feminine. But the artist also points out that be it sewing, cooking and cleaning, working in an office or factory, digging in a mine or applying make up, to be human is to repeat things.

MacMurray has an ongoing interest in the rich tradition of the folk tale passed by word of mouth, and the powerful nature of fairy-tales which so often function as cautionary tales. In their original form they are such a far cry from the sugary world of Walt Disney. Turning the gloves inside out, as if peeled off upon finishing the chores, reveals a pure white fragile surface, and the gloves combine to create a glamorous gown a world away from the kitchen sink! The resemblance to a wedding dress is unmistakeable and not many women will fail to spot the irony! However, if you did attempt to wear this piece, the 3.25m diameter circular skirt would hobble you to the spot. The title A Mixture of Frailties refers to the vulnerability, which is a strength and weakness of the human condition. This garment could possibly be seen as a trap - be careful what you wish for!

But the sculpture can also be read to suggest that everyone, regardless of background, can be glamorous in any task. Perhaps had Cinderella not had a fairy godmother on hand, she may have created a similar dress!

'A Mixture of Frailties' was originally created in 2004, but the texture of the piece proves irresistible and after years of display and thousands of hands reaching in to touch, the piece became a little grubby and worn. Many of the gloves needed replacing and in 2013 Susie returned to to save the day!

So, if anyone would like to add a touch of glamour and do the dishes with a pair of 'A list' marigolds, the glove used in the artwork is product code 'HHMWM' available from, for all your workwear needs and happily-ever-afters!

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