Illustration: Cynthia Corbin. Permeable, 2008.
It is sometimes difficult to categorise Cynthia Corbin's work as it is so much more than the title of quilting or even textile art can do justice to. The techniques used in order to produce the resulting textural and painterly aspect of her work could very well be seen as on a literal par with some of the best efforts of fine art abstract painting.
The fact that Corbin does indeed work with fabrics and stitching and not oils, acrylics or pastels is all the more remarkable as all the fabrics used are individually painted with dyes, rather than bought or dyed en masse. This attention to detail, taking each separate fabric as a project in its own right, allows Corbin to build up a unique library of artistic moments which gives her a perspective towards quilting that is much deeper, more personal and certainly more creative than most.
Illustration: Cynthia Corbin. Blocked, 2008.
It is the mark making techniques and textures that have added a completely new level of richness and singular creativity to her work. These elements, which often seem more reminiscent to that of fine art printing or pen and ink drawing, create a surface that can be explored in its own right. That Corbin could easily be satisfied with that singular result is obviously not part of her creative makeup as she then applies the technique of building up multi-layers that take their strength from the traditions of quilting. However, she also challenges the formulas and preconceptions of that tradition, asking us to see beyond the limits of the craft and accept in full the compositional use of a whole series of techniques of surface and much deeper textural formulas that take this work well beyond both quilting and textile art.
The work that Corbin produces is worth seeing purely for its unique and therefore personally artistic and creative approach, but it also has an elemental sense that takes us out of ourselves and allows us to explore the fundamental use of colour and texture on an emotional level, rather than an intellectual.
Illustration: Cynthia Corbin. Removed, 2008.
Cynthia Corbin teaches various classes and workshops, is a lecturer and has exhibited her work widely both inside and outside the US. She has a full calendar until at least 2011 and it seems there is very little that Corbin has not achieved or is willing to achieve within her discipline. There is also a comprehensive website where you can see much more of Corbin's work and includes more information about her lectures, classes, workshops and exhibitions. The website can be found here.
All images were used with the kind permission of the artist.
Illustration: Cynthia Corbin. Storm Door, 2008.
Cynthia Corbin Website