I recently attended "presence / absence", a show by local textile artist, Rebecca Cross, at the Morgan Conservatory (Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory), a fascinating art center dedicated to the preservation of handmade papermaking and the art of the book. The folks there are so incredibly passionate about their art that they even grow their own kuzo (Japanese Mulberry tree) to create paper from.
Rebecca Cross teaches art and writing at the Kent State University School of Art in Kent, Ohio, where she received her MFA in Crafts in 2008. "presence / absence"
is Rebecca's commemoration of her daughter, Emma Rose Coleman, who died unexpectedly at age 19 last November. The show beautifully captures her range of emotions in both silk and paper.
Rebecca applies the traditional Japanese technique of shibori to silk organza, embedding the fibers with dyes (such as indigo) and twisting them into elaborate pleats and protrusions. In this sculpture, she included hawthorn branches from her own tree to provide the support.
During the summer of 2011, she was an artist in residence at the Morgan Paper Conservatory, learning the art and science of creating paper, with its variations of texture, color, strength and size.
Here the translucent organza is manipulated to create a landscape that mingles the silk sculptures with embedded paper sconces. Believe me, it took all of my will power not to touch!
My favorite sculpture was this row of dancing silk.
The powerfully emotional show includes references to the many shared moments with her daughter, including the gathering of the shale last fall in preparation for the exhibition. Little did she suspect that those memories would be dearly treasured.
For those in the Cleveland area, "presence / absence" can be seen at the Morgan Conservatory Tuesdays to Saturdays through July 7, 2012.