Revival, 2015Hand-woven jacquard cloth, mounted on wood panel15 ½ x 28 in
Through performance, video, installation and sculpture, Cassandra Davis’ work examines her own Midwestern Evangelical upbringing. Davis is interested in understanding relationships between redemption, resurrection, embodied trauma, and the failure of the American dream. She is enchanted by the power of spiritual ecstasy and how the reclamation of ritual might offer the queer and marginalized body a transcendent experience.
Davis’ work also reimagines rural materials like corn and hay, and spaces like the revival or parade —and expands the archival and photographic into embodied form. Through the hand-sewn, hand-woven, and hand-printed, her process embodies the obsessive devotion of the Believer.
Davis’ hand-woven Jacquard works engage a conversation between textile and image. In this body of work (Revival), Davis works with archival photographs of Appalachian revivals, exploring about how the image can be embedded into textile, and the two dimensional given a physical presence. In the case of the hand-woven Jacquard works, the image is constructed one thread at a time. These works explore how early 20th Century flash photography can translate into textile and material, and how the jitter of woven structures—like the broken twill or the laborious process of pulling each selvage one thread at time— can evoke the obsessive devotion of the believer.
In this particular work, there’s a moment that references the flash, a sort of banding where the weft changes color; the black frame and repetition of image references film frames, and are products of improvisation on the loom. In a certain light, the weft material shimmers and reflects light in a way that brings the photographic flash back into the work in a physical form.