Is marriage something women are forced into by the pressure of societal norms or do they enter it willingly? Is a wedding a religious, spiritual experience or a civil rite imbued with sexual tension? This sculpture called La Promise in the St. Boniface Sculpture Garden by Madeleine Vrignon explores those ideas. Vrignon who was born in St. Boniface and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba, began her career as an illustrator of children’s books. When she was asked to create a sculpture in bronze of a young girl who had died of cancer, her interest in a new art form began.
The top part of Vrignon’s statue La Promise is dark and quite provocative, with a low-cut top that emphasizes the woman’s bosom and meets in a V that points suggestively to an erogenous zone of the bride’s body. She’s wearing dark long gloves, not the white gloves you might expect a bride to wear. Her hands almost seem to be reaching up in supplication. Her stomach bulges out a bit. Could she be pregnant? This top part of the dress is tight and confining.
The bottom part of the dress is lighter in color suggesting the more traditional white bridal dress denoting purity. It is more comfortable looking and free-flowing and less confining than the top. However there is a grating or iron grill work embedded in the dress. Is it trapping or guarding something? Vrignon says she wanted people to think about whether marriage was a refuge for women or not.
In this side view you can see how the bride has been tethered to the ground in the rear by guy wires. They might be giving her roots and security but they also tie her down. This won’t be a runaway bride.
This is the third sculpture in the jardin de sculptures de la Maison that I have profiled in What Next. Check out What is It? and Between Dog and Wolf to see the other two. There is one more sculpture in the park. I’ll do a post about it soon.