G111 Exhibitions
Art Rental Service
School of Art
University of Manitoba

Link to an excerpt
from an artist's statement
by Cecile Clayton-Gouthro

Link to photographs
of Clayton-Gouthro's works

Cecile Clayton Gouthro
Cecile Clayton-Gouthro performance work

ABOVE: A scene from Cecile Clayton-Gouthro's work Connecting at an Unknown Rate at Gallery One One.

A solo exhibition of the work of Cecile Clayton-Gouthro entitled Connecting at an Unknown Rate happened at Gallery One One One 12 March to 1 April 2000, curated by Cliff Eyland. Clayton-Gouthro is an artist, critic and professor of clothing and textiles at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. This multimedia exhibition addressed issues of fashion, apparel design history, self identity, and art. Clayton-Gouthro's show brought together dancers, musicians, and a videographer in a performance/installation using three fiber sculpture pieces. Allan Dellanoy was the videographer, Christina Medina was the choreographer and Jim Hiscott was the composer.

This exhibition articulated Clayton-Gouthro's vision both as a visual artist and costume historian. Her use of shoulder pads was a witty reference to the "power woman" ideology of the 1980s and also to the the big-shouldered women of the 1940s who took on so-called men's work during World War II. Clayton-Gouthro had, so to speak, stitched the femininity back into the shoulder pads as she made them into quilt-like garments. Interestingly, Clayton-Gouthro used both male and female dancers in her performance work, as if taking for granted a cross-gendered point of view.

Clayton-Gouthro's shoulder pad garments were hand sewn using hundreds of pads sewn to conform to the shape of a body. While the individual shoulder pads are essentially light weight, the constructed the garment is very heavy. In order for the pieces to be worn each pad was individually hand sewn on both sides so that the drag of the weight would not cause the pads to come apart during movement by the wearer. Opening night the performers entered the darkened gallery one at a time, each hauling a length of tulle fabric filled with loose multi-coloured and patterned shoulder pads. First they moved as if alone and then together, all in time to cello music that was meant to act as a loose "vocal" counterpoint to the language of the performer's movements. The garments require controlled movement and body-movement harmony in order for the piece to work.

A prerecorded video -- many in the audience mistakenly thought that the video was live-action -- was simultaneously projected against the gallery wall, echoing the movements of the performers. The video both foreshadowed and repeated the dancing. As the music played, the performers created random images on the gallery floor with the pads; then they removed their shoulder pad garments and hung them on support stands.

After the performers disrobed and created the floor art, they retrieved their pieces of tulle fabric and interwove themselves in tulle as they left the gallery space. The shoulder pad garments remained on their stands, the video projection continued to be played, and two monitors placed in the gallery's windows (which faced the School of Art's hallway) replayed the performance by means of tape loops for the duration of the exhibition.

Gallery One One One, School of Art, Main Floor, FitzGerald Building, University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA R3T 2N2 TEL:204 474-9322 FAX:474-7605

For information please contact Robert Epp