The Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) second exhibit of the fall season features fabric art by two artists, Caryl Gaubatz and Anne Katrosh. Gaubatz, who resides in Garden Ridge, designs wearable art that tells a story. Katrosh, who lives and works in Rockport, has been expanding her skills in surface embroidery for more than a decade.

The Personal and the Global is both artists’ maiden exhibit at the RCA. It will be on display through Saturday, Nov. 23.

Admission is free.

Gaubatz has been sewing and making fabric art all her life. A retired Army nurse and a Gulf War veteran, Gaubatz travelled the world for 20 years in service to her county before establishing a life in Texas. It was then she took a class in fabric dyeing and began dyeing in addition to sewing fabric art. She enjoys the unpredictability and surprises that come with hand-dyeing fabric. Gaubatz obtained a certificate in Fibers from the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio.

“My intention is to produce exquisitely crafted soft sculpture that includes the body as its animating element, said Gaubatz. “I design narrative garments; wearable art pieces that tell a story. At first sight, the viewer may not readily perceive the subtext, but will immediately feel the authenticity of the work. After a longer interaction, that feeling will become stronger than if the garment were purely decorative. When the garment is worn, the person wearing it becomes an accomplice in telling the story. Invariably, environmental and spiritual issues are expressed in my work.”

Originally trained as a sculptor, Katrosh began incorporating a life-long interest in textiles into object making, resulting in a hybrid genre that reflects an ongoing interest in intimate and everyday events. A transition into the utilization of found objects has strengthened her works’ connection to the cultural environment from which she takes inspiration. Using images imbedded in stitching, challenges conventional notions about hand embroidery.

Taught to sew by her grandmother at the age of four, Katrosh maintained a close connection to textiles and textile traditions. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from the University of Houston. While attending graduate school, her husband was offered the opportunity to work abroad. Taking a leave of absence from her studies, Katrosh moved to Gabon, where they thought they would live for two years and repatriate to Houston. Instead, this move marked the beginning of a life abroad with 10 foreign assignments to eight different countries over the course of two decades. Traversing the globe awakened her passion for travel and cultural immersion that is evident through her work.

While living in France, Katrosh studied embroidery at the École Lesage in Paris and the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, outside London. Since 2016, Anne has been a regular contributor to the Challenge exhibitions held at the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally.

“I have created works that are based on my memories of the seven years my family and I lived in Libreville Gabon. The materials and techniques employed in these works were chosen to reflect the nature of memory,” said Katrosh. “Photographs were printed on cotton paper and then kneaded by hand with palm oil to create a surface patina that softens the imagery, like a cherished letter folded and refolded from countless readings. The palette is intentionally muted, the focus of the imagery softened from its original sharpness to evoke the passage of time. The surface embroidery applied to the photographs is a quiet process, providing time for contemplation and by its nature enhancing the intimate domesticity of many of these memories that I’ve chosen to share, while the found objects attached to the works function as relics of a life lived on the equator.”

RCA Curator of Exhibitions Elena Rodriguez added, “Every culture has its own fabrics, patterns, and fashion; it’s a way humans celebrate ethnic unity. At the same time, how we dress is a huge expression of the wearer’s individuality. This duality is what the personal and the global is about. Both Gaubatz’s and Katrosh’s art honors the universality and the intimacy of fabric arts.”

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