Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gay Kemmis


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.

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