Rebecca Cross exhibits her work nationally and internationally, in a wide range of venues in the Cleveland area; in Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, New York, Maryland; in Paris, France; Budapest, Hungary; Nagoya, Japan; and Husqvarna, Sweden. She has collaborated extensively with dancer and choreographer Kora Radella.
She lives in Oberlin, Ohio, with her husband, the composer Randolph Coleman. They have two children. Raised in Japan and Alaska, the geographies of the Pacific and the Northwest USA powerfully inform Cross's visual vocabulary.
Recipient of the Textile Society of America New Professional Award in 2010, Cross received her M.F.A. in 2009 from Kent State University, where she now teaches Textile Surface Design and Professional Practices. Artist residencies include the Hungarian Multicultural Center in Budapest, Hungary; Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont; and the Jonkoping Kommun in Husqvarna, Sweden. She conducts workshops in various Ohio institutions, including The Morgan Paper Conservatory and Praxis Fiber Workshop.
Cross primarily uses the traditional techniques of Japanese shibori, a shape- and color-resist, immersion-dye process, which embeds memory in fiber through color and form, providing a metaphor for how experiences create palimpsests as one proceeds forward in time, while recording accumulations of the past.
The idea of beauty is central to my work. Especially in precarious times, I believe that beauty must be understood as something that both needs to be protected, as well as something that we can cultivate to protect ourselves. There is inherent worth, humanity and compassion in the articulation and apprehension of beauty, encounters that grant us moments of transcendence and connection.
In Shields/Shadows (new work in 2017, exhibited at Baldwin Wallace), my sculptures are diaphanous: they hold the memory of sharp objects that have been tied into them. Neither stiff or hard, they are flexible and mobile, expressing an unusual metaphor for protection.
They are colored to enhance contrasts, by placing bright, intense centers and edges against complex, earthy grounds. Their surface references skin, and their scale signals parts of the human body that are currently under assault: our hearts, our minds, our sexual and cultural liberties and identities. In addition, these sculptures cast shadows, which act as metaphors, too. Although shadows are illusory, they have substance: many things that need protection need to be hidden, while many things that exist in the shadows need to be illuminated.
Shadows were the genesis for related drawings, that were further developed by copying elements from botanical illustrations. The merest seed or leaf conveys infinitesimal pleasure and intricacy, which I interrogate in the drawings and felted pieces, with various marks and gestures in pencils and thread.
The felted pieces combine elements of both the sculptures and drawings: supple, embellished fields surrounding sculpted centers. Called "soft targets," they are evidence that delicate, sensitive things are at risk, but can also thrive, summon our attention, and transform our perspective.
Perhaps such transformations become opportunities for, or symbols of, critical resiliency as well.
Silk/dyes, approx. 30" x 20" x 3", 2018
Soft Target #1
wool, silk, dyes, various threads, approx. 9" diameter, 2017
Silk/dyes, approx. 33" x 30" x 3", 2018
Silk/dyes, approx. 20" x 15" x 2", 2017
Shadow Drawing #2
BFK Rives, graphite, watercolor pencil, 30" x 22", 2017
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