Cindy Baker at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), to August 4. 416-531-5042. Rating: NNNN
Reaching to wrap a piece of fabric around artist Cindy Baker's waist, I realize it's one thing to see someone else's body and a whole different story to dress it. To explore our preconceived ideas about body image and fashion, this self-proclaimed "giant Barbie" invites the public to create clothes for her.
At first I think creating a top for the Saskatoon performance artist would be a simple matter of sewing two rectangles together with holes for arms and neck. When I start designing my pattern, I have to consider where and how the material will fall on her body. Then I realize what it really means to fit a larger body into the standard way we make and think of fashion - it just doesn't fit. Raising this awareness and dialogue is what this project is about.
"I know it's usually awkward for a larger person to be looked at, because it happens in a less than sociable context and is considered unacceptable," Baker says. "We never have any idea of each other's sizes, and we're so far removed from the manufacturing process that we have no idea where to start."
For people who simply shop for clothes that fit and flatter, it might be time to step up to this fashion plate, let your guard down and see what you can invent - on your own terms - with a piece of fabric.
Creations will be on display until and modelled on August 4 .