Karen LaMonte, who was first introduced to glass casting at the Rhode Island School of Design, now lives and works in Prague, in the Czech Republic. The artist is internationally known for translucent glass sculptures of dresses that explore the multilayered relationship between the female body and clothing, in conversation with the traditional nude. Ojigi is part of a series of kimono sculptures LaMonte created following a seven-month residency in Kyoto, Japan, and several more years of intensive study. Ojigi, the Japanese word for bowing one’s head or torso, can have multiple meanings: bowing in gratitude, to apologize, or simply as salutation. The sculpture is thus not only a metaphor for the absent female body but also a collective way of communicating. The beauty of the kimono and the ghostly absence of a female body underneath point to the continuity of culture, the role of women in contemporary society, and the fragility of life.
Karen LaMonte. Ojigi, 2020. Cast Glass, 52 x 25 x 18½ inches. Gift of Mitchell and Karen Padnos. © Karen LaMonte. Photo: Martin Polak.