A Splendid Decennium: Victorian to Vanguard

The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House is thrilled to announce the new exhibit, “A Splendid Decennium: Victorian to Vanguard.” The exhibit will infuse the House with works from internationally-acclaimed fiber artist Marty Ornish, exploring a decade of political, environmental, and feminist perspectives through textile art. 

“A Splendid Decennium: Victorian to Vanguard” is a retrospective exhibit in two parts, uniting two historical jewels, the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House and the Villa Montezuma Museum. The exhibition will span both properties and can be viewed separately, but guests are encouraged to visit both for a comprehensive experience of MartyO’s work.

Admission to Gaslamp Museum portion included in all Museum and Walking Tours. Buy tickets today! 

Separate admission to the Villa Montezuma Museum required. 

Exhibition Statement:

“A Splendid Decennium: Victorian to Vanguard” heralds the upcoming solo retrospective exhibition by the acclaimed fiber artist, Marty Ornish, at The Villa Montezuma Museum and The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House, commencing on January 27, 2024. For the first time, these two venerable Victorian treasures in Sherman Heights and Downtown San Diego will unite, simultaneously showcasing Marty’s distinctive wearable art, art quilts, and other assemblage. The textiles she uses in her art are nearly as old as these historic buildings.

Renowned for her transformative artistry with Victorian-aged patchwork and linens, Marty elevates discarded materials deemed beyond utility into captivating pieces. Employing traditional domestic art skillsets in a subversive manner, she seamlessly integrates Victorian, Edwardian, and contemporary fashion styles. Her art serves as a conduit for expressing political, environmental, and feminist perspectives. Through deconstruction, reconstruction, repair, and reworking old cloth, Marty creates statement pieces that weave new narratives. Her work often carries a humor that addresses stereotypical societal roles imposed on women.

Throughout her last decade as a studio artist, Marty has voiced concerns about the increasing overconsumption and detrimental effects of fast fashion through her art practice. Harkening back to a pre-Victorian time when cloth was a luxury, her art pays homage to an era when fabrics were revered, meticulously cared for, and fashions repurposed and re-embellished instead of being discarded. Even post-industrial revolution, following the invention of the sewing machine, increased affordability did not supplant the practice of altering garments to extend their lifespan. During her “bustle period,” Marty’s husband, on more than one occasion, suggested that she was a time-traveler from the 19th century. This 10-year retrospective in these two Victorian homes are apt venues.

Dress on mannequin

all tied up (2015)
Marty Ornish
Photo by Steven Ornish

Let me mend your ways (2018)

Detail

Marty Ornish

Photo by Steven Ornish

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