“Femme Totale” Fuses Art with Fashion

It often happens that I’ll discover the most interesting of people in the most random of places. That’s how I stumbled upon the work of Carla Biondi, a San Francisco-based sculptor I met recently at an Ana Mandara party for the beta launch of jetsetextra.com, a social networking travel website.

It turns out Biondi’s intriguing work is currently on display at the Art People gallery in downtown San Francisco through March 31. The “Femme Totale” exhibit includes a diverse display of Biondi’s  ceramic torsos, which pay tribute to the female form and fashion.

The 41-year-old Argentina native says it was only natural that fashion would work its way into her pieces (several of which incorporate leather laces into a corset design) because of her lifelong interest in the subject.

“I am fascinated with how fashion shapes us humans and still leaves so much room for individual interpretation,” says Bionidi, who lives on Yerba Buena Island. “I am inspired by fashion as I recognize in it our ability to enjoy specific roles, almost like an actor or to simply be practical. I never believed in becoming enslaved by fashion, but instead allowing us to ‘wear how we feel.’”

Most of her ceramic pieces, which appear as artistic reinterpretations of a dress form, typically take three months to complete after a rigorous process of concept development and sketching followed by production involving slip-casting, sculpting, oven-bisking, glazing and firing.

“The natural appearance of women is a beautiful, graceful gift as the expression of both beauty and nature,” says Biondi of the significance of her art. “When creating female torsos from several pieces that are seamed together as a whole, I begin to express the fact that women are made up of many different individual elements that once combined from the girl, the woman, the female.”

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