Unwearable Cloak

Unwearable Cloak

Artist: Katherine Gibson

Title: Unwearable Cloak

Attribution: Unwearable Cloak, 2019, Kate Gibson

Year: 2019

Materials: Canvas, Acrylic, Felt, Thread, Silver, 6 Sassy Magazines

Dimensions: 60" x 84"

Image Statement: I created this cloak with a compulsivity mirroring the endless publication of magazines. The recycled articles are themselves upcycled into a delicate fringe that makes no promise of actual protection. Painted and sewn canvas is pieced together like a quilt, hoping to comfort young bodies despite a rough and inflexible weave using textile techniques that women have used for hundreds of years to protect their charges. Laboriously formed pieces of silver sewn along the hem whisper to the wearer a song of protection as they softly jingle, a meaningless gesture that can provide comfort nonetheless. Still, the cloak itself is unwearable, unable to fulfill its implied purpose. The work and time I invested have the unintended benefit of giving me a fictitious sense of safety and control through the performance of physical labor. To trust in the cloak’s protective powers would be like trusting magazines to raise young women. Both offer illusions as we lose our ability to distinguish the real from the imagined, and its only in retrospect that we see where we made our desperate choices to believe.