Carrie Ann Schumacher

Carrie Ann Schumacher
Last Name: Schumacher
First Name: Carrie Ann
Country: United States
City: Chicago
Art Form: Mix Media
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When I came across a box of fifty free romance novels at the library where I was working, I initially had no idea what I was going to do with them. But something within them spoke to me, and I knew I had to take them. Otherwise, I would wake up with a brilliant, life-changing idea and be devastated that I didn’t have them. So naturally, into the trunk of my car they went.
I cannot recall exactly when or how it occurred to me to make dresses out of the books, but the idea didn’t arrive in that brilliant and life-changing flash I expected. Rather, it was a slow piecing together of several ideas. Firstly, I had an art school assignment to make a piece that discussed the concept of “invisibility.” This project made me question the visible versus the invisible within my own life, and in the lives of other American women. I considered the roles that romance novels, the beauty industry and the fashion world play within our culture; the three share definite commonalities, as they all thrive on fantasy and define femininity for many. I combined these worlds into one unwearable and fragile garment as a way to speak to the visibility and invisibility of different aspects of womanhood.
Creating dresses out of romance novels also enabled me to explore milestones of my own womanhood and merge them with the memories and stories of other women, creating a universal narrative. This past summer, while trying on wedding dresses for my upcoming nuptials, all I could think about was how I could recreate different aspects of dresses in paper. I knew at some point I wanted to try and create a wedding dress out of books, a feat I feared near impossible due to the fragile nature of the material.
However, the meaning of the wedding dress transformed when I lost my grandmother three months later. I began to make a dress shortly after her death, but the original intention of the piece changed when I somehow sensed that she was having trouble leaving this world. I
started to wonder, “if you knew you were going to die, what would you wear into the next life?” And at that point, my half-formed dress took on a life of its own. It swelled to become a wedding dress on steroids, transforming into a garment for an ethereal queen, part floating dream, part regal mystery, part cyclical prayer. After a week of focused labor, it was done. I looked at it and wondered how it ever could have come from my hands.
I titled this sculpture Alice and the Boy She Left Behind because it is, above all else, a love story. My grandmother’s death devastated my grandfather and the work is a visual tribute to their love and his overwhelming grief upon her passing. Therefore, the romance novels are vital to this sculpture; There is no better material than the pages of countless other love stories.
I could not have foreseen what lay ahead the day I took that box of romance novels to my studio. Creating dresses from the books has allowed me to create my own fantasies and romances. As I release the finished artworks into the world, I hope they share these stories wherever they go.


Carrie Ann Schumacher is a multi-media artist living and working in Chicago. She was born in 1986. Her B.F.A. in Digital Media was received from Elmhurst College in 2008. Subsequent to that she attended Northern Illinois University, where she received her M.F.A. in Painting in 2012. She is currently on the faculty at Kishwaukee College, where she teaches Computer Art, Introduction to Visual Arts, and Digital Imaging.

Recent group exhibitions include The Personal is Political: The Transformative Power of Women’s Art at the Koehnline Museum of Art, Des Plaines, Illinois, and Consumer Culture at Woman-Made Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. She has four solo shows throughout the Midwest region coming up in the next year.



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Fyer , Fyer!
Starts: Monday, October 7th, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Ends: Saturday, October 5th, 2013 at 4:22 PM
Gershwin Hotel
7 East 27th Street
New York, United States
SIREN Baroque kicks off its third season with Fyer, Fyer!, the first of four concerts exploring the ancient elements, in a special collaboration with the innovative baroque dancers Laura Careless and Marisol Cabrera. The program features blazingly passionate works by Morley, Monteverdi, Rebel, Scarlatti, and Handel, all of which use fire as a metaphor for nature’s wrath, spiritual zeal, lustful ardor, or the terrors of hell. With SIREN Baroque’s “impassioned performances” (Early Music America) accompanied by strikingly seductive choreography, it promises to be an evening to ignite the senses.
Phone: 212-545-8000