Kristin La Flamme’s intricately sewn textiles tell a story of The Army Wife, the expectation and realities in the world of the military spouse. Adapting domestic items such as aprons, quilts, and sheets La Flamme juxtaposes upbeat imagery with the very serious business of life as an Army Wife. Her use of the aprons references a retro-housewife and as La Flamme said in her artist statement, “the clash of expectations vs. reality, which is also the clash a military spouse experiences daily.”
While these textiles are visually stunning, they belie a life where one is somewhat of a “nomad.” Perhaps the inability to settle down and plant roots as an Army Wife has challenged traditional ideals of family and community. Thus inspiring La Flamme to look back on the retro-housewife days of Leave it to Beaver and The Brady Bunch. As supportive as we are for our troops, La Flamme approaches the conversation of war, personal issues, and the numerous roles a spouse must play from the other side, that of the home front, and she does it in a cheerful and elegant light.
The Army Wife by Kristin La Flamme is on exhibit now at NIH’s Clinical Center, 3rd Floor and will run until March 2014.