January 10, 2022
This week we recognize the work of artist Robin Lasser. Since 2004, Lasser has been collaborating with fellow artist Adrienne Pao on the Dress Tent project.
"We are interested in the land and the body as sites of seduction. Dress Tents are a fusion of architecture, the body and the land played out through living sculpture, moving images and still photography. The Dress Tent project investigates desire from a female centered perspective and uses seduction as a vehicle to explore the relationship between the body and the land."
By referencing modes of female representation such as “bare foot and in the kitchen” in the Picnic Dress Tent, or “mother nature” in the Greenhouse Dress Tent, the dress tents simultaneously utilize and address a history of fantasy associated with women. Through pop-culture humor, the Picnic Dress Tent examines our recreational activities in the landscape though playfully familiar scenarios that leave us to question and reexamine our flow of routine and our relationship to the body as site of cultural desire. A play on green house gasses and what it takes to be "green" in contemporary culture, the Greenhouse Dress Tent becomes a commentary on the current fashion of being “green.”
The Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent, photographed at Mt. Shasta, California underneath one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, embodies the look of a sexy weather hazard/emergency worker in her white winter garb. The dress tent is a polar weather station and research lab, offering a space to ponder the earth, global warming, and glaciers. Underneath her skirt, a chorus of crickets varies their tune, in direct relationship to the climatic changes that have occurred across the globe, from the industrial revolution to the present and beyond. Overlaid upon the cricket chirping are weather reports from the locale in which the tent is stationed, as well as a weather reporter adding commentary on the ice queen's current temperature and state of mind.
Salty Water: South Bay Salt Ponds Dress Tent, celebrates a Bay Area environmental victory: the restoration of the artificially-made salt ponds flanking the southern shores of the bay back to its original wetlands eco system. As far as changing the physical structure of southern San Francisco Bay, no industry, not even waste disposal, has had as great an impact as salt production. More of the south bay has been diked and ponded for salt than not. Salty Water Dress Tent, as an intervention in this landscape, becomes a marker for this important transition of the land back to its original state.
Robin Lasser is an artist residing in Oakland, California. She is currently a Professor of Art at San Jose State University. Lasser produces photographs, video, site-specific installations and public art dealing with socially and culturally significant imagery and themes. Lasser often works in a collaborative mode with other artists, writers, students, public agencies, community organizations, and international coalitions to produce public art and promote public dialogue. Lasser exhibits her work nationally and internationally. robinlasser.com dresstents.com
Featured Images: ©Robin Lasser, Dress Tents, 2004-ongoing.