Wednesday, April 13, 2011
What Do We Touch?
The Samdokai (The Harmony of Difference and Equality), a poem by the eighth-century Zen master Sekito Kisen, explores the concept of “branching streams that flow in the darkness” and an urging for those who study the mystery to not waste time.
Through direct experience, questions arise such as “what do we touch and what touches us?” When inquiry and response arise together, what do we open to and what opens us? Somewhere, beneath the surface, an intermingling of experiences occurs; causes and conditions lead up to this moment in time and space. Past, present and future are not separate, nor is the process linear.
Mining the unconscious involves identifying patterns and habits, searching for something that cannot be named, and finding along the way timelessness, transparency and impermanence. The process of making becomes an archeological dig; the exploration of entangled and transparent layers. We have an opportunity to gain an intimate understanding of what is most important. Don’t waste time.
Edie Brown has worked with dyeing and surface design since 1996. She first exhibited her work in 2003 and was included in the Surface Design Association Review 2007. Brown is also a registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Public Health. As “branching streams flow in the darkness”, she continues to explore the intersections of working in healthcare systems, practicing Zen, and speaking in cloth. Compelled to go deeper and be challenged further, her journey continues in the effort to discover visual language for invisible concepts and to think spatially as well as spaciously about fiber.
A line intersects with another, forming a shape that didn’t exist before. A smooth surface is damaged, revealing a new texture. These encounters, whether random or deliberate, are profoundly transformative. That point of intersection, the place where new complexity is created when objects, forces, and ideas collide, continually fascinates me and is the dominant theme in my work.
The foundation of all my pieces is rayon cloth dyed with fiber-reactive dye. This choice creates the first transformative intersection as dye molecules bond directly to the fibers, permanently altering the cloth. I like the dual nature of rayon, durable enough to withstand multiple punishing surface design processes, yet supple enough to capture and reflect back luminous gradations of color. Removing rayon’s inherent fluid state by mounting it to a rigid backing and cutting into the surface allows me to explore, and perhaps expand, the perceived limitations of a two-dimensional picture plane.
I see shadows of empty-leafed branches against the snow and come to understand an ephemeral third dimension can be implied. I notice a hole in the pavement filled with pebbles and leaves and imagine the natural tendency to fill a void is probably instinctual. I see the chaotic order of an abandoned bird nest and wonder if the simple intersection of one line with another can ever convey the complex reality that the original lines are no more. These are the daily observations that I expect will inspire a lifetime of work.
Gay Kemmis was first exposed to surface design during an introductory fabric-dyeing course, after which she went on to complete Jane Dunnewold’s intensive Complex Cloth workshop as part of the University of Minnesota’s Split Rock Summer Arts Program. Furthering her studies in surface design, she recently completed a two year Art Cloth Mastery Program in San Antonio, Texas. Her work can currently be seen in the Twelve Voices from One Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.
The Best Season
This series is inspired by a poem by Wu-Men, a Zen master.
Ten thousand flowers in spring,
The moon in autumn,
A cool breeze in summer,
Snow in winter.
When your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.
My intention is not only to represent the literal meaning of the words, but also the feelings of peace and contentment that result from living in the present moment. This series is also informed by the importance of meditation and reflection in my life. The process by which I create also emphasizes quiet reflection and connection to the wisdom within. Prior to creating a piece, I meditate on what I am trying to achieve. At the beginning of each work session, I focus on my intention. Then as I work, I remain open to intuition and the flow of creativity during the process. Working in this manner gives me a strong sense of joy and inner peace. It is my intent to inspire that feeling in those who view my work.
Lisa Kerpoe is an award-winning artist and facilitator. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her latest series focuses on the feelings of peace and contentment that result from living in the present moment and the importance of meditation and reflection in her life. Her intention is to inspire those feelings in those who view her work. Kerpoe produced two instructional DVDs in 2010 - Vibrant Color (with Jane Dunnewold) and Irresistible Texture. She has also written a book on water-based resists to be released by C&T Publishing. (Spring 2012). Kerpoe is an adjunct faculty member at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas, and teaches textile and surface design workshops across the United States. Kerpoe was juried into the ArtCloth Network in 2008 and is a member of the Fiber Artists of San Antonio.