Marcelyn Bennett-Carpenter would like for you, the viewer, to be involved. Engagement with her work, ideally, goes beyond aesthetic appreciation; her pieces are designed for physical interaction: wearing, blowing, navigating, and especially stretching. Tension is the fundamental quality of weaving; as a fiber artist, accomplished weaver, and instructor at Cranbrook’s Kingswood Weaving and Fiber Art Studio, Bennett-Carpenter’s work is fraught with a baseline tension that is belied at first blush by soft palettes and inviting surfaces.
In many ways, Bennett-Carpenter is the consummate fiber artist—a cohort prone to obsession with materials and the desire to synthesize radically different points of inspiration. The ability to tie together disparate strands is, again, critical to the process of weaving, and one supposes that more than a decade of training and practice with this art has left Bennett-Carpenter in a state of constant and reflexive incorporation of new ideas with old. An ongoing series of house drawings which feature pencil and ink sketches of architectural subjects from around the Cranbrook campus (Abandon: Institute Way) and the city of Detroit (Abandon: 14th Street), obscured by Rorschach-like blots of negative-space vegetation, demonstrates Bennett-Carpenter’s focus on the immediate, the domestic. Not only do these meditations on space, nature, and architecture translate directly to her woven pieces, the center-reflected nature of the drawings suggests the two-sided process that makes all weavings inherently dual (reverse-relief) images. Many of her drawn and woven pieces resemble interior design; Bennett-Carpenter recalls the example set by her mother’s determination, throughout a childhood punctuated by frequent moves, to painstakingly decorate each new home. A series of panels, such as Toward the Left, deals very directly with these ideas of interior and decorative spaces, overlaying Diane Simpson-esque fields of wallpaper and mylar with tight, delicate constellations of thread on pins—modeling an appealing domestic tableau that is subtly fraught with quiet tension, as so many are.
And this is your reminder that you can see Lynn’s work–as well as that of the most recent 10 artists profiled by Essay’d–at the Essay’d V show, which opens at 9338 Campau TOMORROW NIGHT!!!