My Mother’s Red Dress, cyanotype on paper, 52″ x 40″
My Mother’s Black and White Print Dress, cyanotype on paper, 52″ x 40″
My Mother’s Dressing Gown, cyanotype on paper, 78″ x 40″
My Mother’s Evening Gown, cyanotype on paper, 52″ x 40″
My Mother’s Striped Dress, cyanotype on paper, 52″ x 40″
My Father’s Jacket, cyanotype on paper, 26″ x 40″
My Father’s Shirt, cyanotype on paper, 26″ x 40″
My Mother’s Shirtwaist Dress, cyanotype on paper, 52″ x 40″
The cyanotype photographs shown above are images of clothing that once belonged to my parents, both of whom were killed in the crash of a commercial plane on its way to South America. I was seven years old. The dresses and shirts were stored on the third floor of our house for many years; however, I never learned why the clothes were kept or what their significance was for my parents. After the plane crash, the family’s collective grief was so great that my parents were rarely mentioned. As I grew older, I began to regard these saved garments as tangible evidence of my mother’s and father’s existence and used them to try to piece together their identities.
About the Artist
Lucy Capehart was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1952. After studying anthropology at the University of Montana and working as an archaeologist, she moved in 1980 to Portland, Oregon, where she became involved with Blue Sky Gallery, one of the oldest cooperative photography galleries in the United States. Lucy Capehart also lived in Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina before finding her way back to Montana to pursue a master’s degree in fine art.
A photographer and museum professional for more than 20 years, Lucy Capehart has exhibited widely her large color studies of domestic interiors and the American cultural landscape, showing in such venues as Portland Art Museum, New York City’s Mid-town Y Gallery, Blue Sky Gallery, and Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington. Lucy Capehart’s work also has been featured on book and CD covers, and has been published in The New York Times Magazine (“Sophisticated Traveler”), Oxford American, Architecture, and, more recently, Sun Magazine. In addition, her work appears in Tom Rankin’s book Local Heroes Changing America—a consequence of a Pew Charitable Trust documentary project in which Lucy Capehart was a featured artist. Lucy Capehart also has been awarded residency fellowships at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, Virginia (2011); and Brush Creek Arts Foundation, Saratoga, Wyoming (2014).
Lucy Capehart’s work can be found in the collections of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona; Special Collections Library, Duke University; The Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, Arizona; and Portland Art Museum, in Oregon.
Represented by Radius Gallery, in Missoula, Montana, Lucy Capehart contributed one of her photographs to the May 7, 2016, Art Auction benefiting the Cascade AIDS Project in Portland, Oregon.
Cascade AIDS Project 2016 Art Auction
Indivisible (Project of Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University)
Lucy’s work resinates with me. I loved my mothers blue velvet long robe with rhinestone lined zipper and clasp. The flashy stones on her gold cigarette case mesmerized me. I felt special when she let me to fill it with 10 cigarettes before she went out.
Her closet small, but held beautiful dresses and a pair of matching adding alligator high heels and purse.