Arkansas Sketchbook

“Blue Angel”
Sandra Luckett | 2014

If water is life, then this brings the fabric and gowns a little closer to something like it. It ripples, they ripple. It picks up light and sends light through them. In the series, aptly named Sexy Puddles, the movement of both lingerie and water lends texture and depth that wouldn’t otherwise exist in the other. Floating on the water, the garments are like the last echoes of the women who wore them—women who gave them up, who grew tired of them, who grew out of them, who no longer enjoyed the way they felt on their skin, who no longer saw the intimate things as part of who they are. Who let them fall where Sandra Luckett found them.

Six or seven years ago or sometime thereabouts, she was on a road trip, driving on the edge of what could barely be called a town. She came across a house that had burned. It was charred in some places. The frames of the outer rooms were like bones. A woman’s possessions, all of them for sale, had been strewn across the lawn. Sandra found it draped on the grass—the aqua peignoir that appears above, near pristine and precious, a little separate from the other clothes that had been stacked in rumpled piles nearby.

Although it was not her size and she had no reason to buy it, there was something about the gown that spoke to her. She bought it. Over the course of the next several years and countless road trips, she found there were many others that spoke to her. And eventually, she filled an entire bag with vintage lingerie, most all of it purchased from thrift stores.

In 2014, while working as a visiting professor for the University of Wisconsin, she challenged her students to do work in which water was a central theme—and decided to put the same challenge to herself.

“Ultimately, I see these garments as a symbol of a woman that no longer exists, either metaphorically or physically,” she writes in her artist statement. “Has she died? Did she gain weight? Has that woman decided she no longer wishes to wear such clothing? Whatever the reason, this article of clothing has been discarded. I imagine the woman has undergone some sort of transformation.” 

The Arkansas Women to Watch 2016 exhibition, which features Sandra’s work, along with that of three other artists, is on display at Argenta’s William F. Laman Library from Dec. 16 to Jan. 12.