Norman's “Ghost Forest” features shrines to 'detritus of nature

On her many trips to Italy, Char Norman would note the abundance of small Christian shrines — trailside tabernacles where people could stop and offer tribute and prayer. The Columbus-based fiber artist would often consider the possibility of erecting her own shrines to nature, eventually opting to create small works incorporating pieces of “found nature” and installing them on these existing structures. Not only did the locals not consider Norman's work defacing, they encouraged her to do more.

This work gave rise to her signature medium, assemblages the artist describes as “shrouds, wombs or cradles.” “They have all of those connotations,” she said. The works begin with a piece of “the detritus of nature,” Norman explained, encased in woven structures of fiber and paper.

“I'm just fascinated with taking natural elements and constructing a sculpture in a way people would notice these things they might otherwise step on or over in the forest,” Norman said. “I want to celebrate the death of nature but also the rebirth.”

The work in Norman's “Ghost Forest” exhibition at the Cultural Arts Center is all newly made for this show, the sum of which is three years in the making. The collection features both 3-D and 2-D pieces.

“Ghost Forest” will remain on view at the CAC through March 11.