Textile Society of America



Mary LaneFollow

Date of this Version



Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, (2004).


Presented at “Appropriation • Acculturation • Transformation,” Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, Oakland, California, October 7-9, 2004. Copyright 2004 Textile Society of America.


Sharon Marcus’ tapestries reflect her training in anthropology and archaeology. Her investigation into the notion of site and the human traces that remain within a site reveals the complex, layered and inherently ambiguous nature of the meaning embedded in fragmentary remains. Her artistic exploration also involves a critical investigation of the methods of scientific inquiry that underlie the disciplines of anthropology and archaeology. Her tapestries examine the notion of objectivity and the ordering system of the grid. In exposing the limitations of those paradigms, Marcus has adopted a subjective and multifaceted approach to representation that rejects the notion of transparency, emphasizing instead the interpretive power of the artist.

In addition to woven tapestries, Marcus has also explored more direct interventions, including charcoal rubbings and plaster gauze castings, which emphasize the role of the hand over that of the eye. The castings create an artifact of an artifact, an allegorical doubling that Marcus interprets as skin, the body’s protective covering. A series of tapestries extends this idea by exploring the metaphoric power of skin, focusing through the object, back onto the subject.