Born into the painful years following the Great Depression, Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s Cathedral has helped provide a space for shelter and contemplation during hard times before. Sanctuary, a new artwork woven through with pop culture and politics was installed earlier this Inauguration Week and now hangs the length of the Cathedral Nave’s southeast pillar:
Through woven texts, sheet music, DVDs, and archival documents affixed to the textile’s face, the work integrates popular and sacred music, a supernatural soap opera, and records of gay politics, sexuality, and culture in Seattle. Sanctuary brings together craft, sociopolitical, and personal histories.
At the core of textile artist John Faught’s work is, of all people, Belinda Carlisle:
Running down the entire right side of the work are woven texts, each repeating the title of a song from Heaven on Earth, a 1987 solo album by former Go-Go’s singer and gay icon Belinda Carlisle. Each track on the album is structured like a traditional pop song, full of references to love and desire. Heaven on Earth can also be read as a thinly veiled hymnal; the continual use of second-person leaves open the identity of the “you” to whom each song is addressed. Every song has the potential to oscillate between earthly eroticism and sacred devotion. These texts are woven using a method called summer and winter, where two contrasting weft yarns in light and dark colors alternate to create a reversible pattern. This two-sided structure reminded the artist of the sides of a LP, and give a structure to the piece as a whole, which switches from predominant reds to blues halfway down as the song titles from the A-side of Heaven on Earth turn to those on the B-side.
The Western Bridge-commissioned work will hang at St. Mark’s through July. An opening reception is planned for Tuesday, January 31st from 6 to 9 PM but you can stop in today if you could use a little sanctuary or want an earworm like Heaven Is a Place on Earth to help drown out the noise.
St. Mark’s is located at 1245 10th Ave E. You can learn more at saintmarks.org/sanctuary/