"presence/absence: new works in silk and paper" by artist Rebecca Cross
Untitled 2011 by Rebecca Cross. Detail of Shibori with handmade abaca paper. Photo courtesy Morgan Conservatory.
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The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation is pleased to present its latest art exhibition, presence/absence by artist Rebecca Cross.
The exhibition can be viewed May 29-July 7, with an opening reception with the artist scheduled for Friday, June 1, 2012, from 7 to 9 p.m. The Morgan Conservatory is located at 1754 East 47th Street.
A native Pacific Northwesterner and current resident of Oberlin, 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. First trained as a bel canto singer, she has performed contemporary art music in a range of venues. The worlds of music, dance and books continue to fascinate and inform her visual art.
"Intrigued by how all art must traverse the imagined and the material, I improvise my way into work in a kind of waking dream. This state of continuous attention allows me to explore what is captivating, troubling, deeply beautiful, or mysterious. Always using my hands in repetitive actions, these interior journeys often occur while quite literally holding on by a thread."
This exhibition commemorates the life of her daughter, Emma Rose Coleman, who died unexpectedly at age 19 last November. All of the work in the show has been made in silk or paper in the intervening months. Grief, memory, time and love provide a psychic residence for this body of work, which suggests larger cycles of destruction and renewal: power and fragility, direction and loss, the illusion of control and the certainty of chance.
As an artist in residence at the Morgan Paper Conservatory last summer, she began considering how to express textile techniques in paper while making significant quantities of large paper, some of which exceed 6'x10'. Textural variegations in paper, the varying strengths of bast fibers, the way handmade papers respond to color, water, heat, and manipulation, all resonate with her experience with fabrics.
These explorations, while primarily sculptural, led her into new worlds of books, printmaking, drawing and utilizing texts, which is why she decided to also apply narrative and time-based enhancements to the work, including original music by Ross Feller and a video loop by Rian Brown-Orso.
A color- and shape-resist technique, traditional Japanese shibori is a constant in her work. Shibori embeds memory in fiber, in color and form, providing a rich metaphor for presence and absence, and for the elusive passage of time.
Gallery hours at the Morgan Conservatory are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 to 4. The Conservatory's main entrance is on East 47th Street (one-way north from Commerce). Opening reception parking is available at the East 45th entrance (one-way south fromPayne Avenue).
For more information about presence/absence, upcoming exhibitions or workshops, please contact The Morgan Conservatory (216) 361-9255 or visit our website at www.morganconservatory.org.
Susan Kelley is a staff member at The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation, an Ohio non-profit art center dedicated to the preservation of hand papermaking and the art of the book.
The Morgan Conservatory pursues its educational and charitable purposes by serving the greater community locally, nationally, and internationally with sustainable practices in an innovative green environment.