di·aph·a·nous: Antonia Reiner 

April 11th, 2013 Posted in Art, Galleries/Museums/Exhibits, Gordon Square Arts District, Photography

di·aph·a·nous   [dahy-af-uh-nuhs] 


1.  very sheer and light; almost completely transparent or translucent.

 What do ghosts and silk have in common? More than you would think… both are diaphanous, resilient, strong. And they have captured the imagination of a Cleveland artist who has chosen to focus on the subjects via two different methods. 

Meet Antonia Reiner. With an Italian mother and American father, she spent the first half of her life in Rome, speaking fluent English and Italian. After completing her schooling there, she moved to England where she obtained a degree in modern languages and started translating art history books for such companies as Taschen, Yale University Press and Philadelphia Museum of Art. As her exposure to the arts increased over the years, she began to take classes in various mediums, leading her to the discovery of fibre arts. Reiner divulged “I tend to use silk because it possesses an emotional dimension, in its fragility and translucency, that suits my own mode of expression.”

When her husband, David Franklin, became the ninth director of the Cleveland Museum of Art a few years ago, they moved to Cleveland from Canada with their two sons. She had her first Cleveland exhibition, Love Letters, in May 2012 at the 1point618 gallery. The explorations of silk resulted in ethereal panels of silk organza, adorned with lustrous glass beads, swirls of paint and accented with the power of words. The effects were stunning, inviting exploration and contemplation.


We recently talked with Antonia:

-How did you get involved in textile art? Where do you start when you are looking at a piece of fabric… or are you weaving it as you go?

I am not a weaver, I suppose you could say I work on the surface of existing fabric, although I rework it in many ways, by layering it, teasing it, sewing it together or tearing it… I am quite restless with it, really. But silk lends itself to this kind of abuse and takes it well. The effects can be stunning. As for the creative process, for me it usually begins with a broad concept – like mythology, for example, or poetry -, then it narrows down to a particular story, and then I start exploring the colours and textures of the fabric as I go along. I tend to use silk because it possesses an emotional dimension, in its fragility and translucency, that suits my own mode of expression.

-Where do you do your work? 

I work in my studio at home. I love the luxury of having a view right over Southerly Park, and the light that comes through the windows in a particular way in the late afternoon. It is an inspiring environment. And I get to blast music full volume when I work! That’s an essential part of the process for me.

-Six words that best describe you…

It depends! I am notorious for my mood swings… However, I will try and give you those that are acceptable, as it were. Loving, hedonistic, loyal, determined, impulsive, temperamental. Actually, let’s just say ‘adorable’ and make it easier on everyone.

-What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My beautiful boys, Thomas and Roman. Though I am not sure they would like to think of themselves as my achievement! They are their own, of course.

 -You indicated a new direction, into photography? How did the progression start? 

It started with shadows. Shadows have always held a great fascination for me. More recently, I happened to watch the shadows cast by a great chandelier in our house, at sunset, and I found it so irresistibly beautiful that I started taking some photographs as they moved with the sun. That chandelier must have witnessed many events and interesting interactions, and I think that if there are ghosts of any sort in our house, they must be having fun! From then on I became more aware of the shadows that the summer sun projected on various surfaces, and I became almost obsessed with capturing them in photographs. It seemed incredibly suited to my thought process, to capture the transient beauty of something that is an echo of the past soon will be transformed into something else or will have vanished altogether. Photography – like fibre –  is an excellent medium to engage with light, translucency and a certain sense of the extraordinary.

Ms. Reiner’s new exhibition, Ghosts, is not what you may think. Yes, ghosts, but ghosts in the form of shimmering reflections, shadows seen for a moment and changing just as quickly. Photography with a fascination of fleeting beauty.

1point618 gallery hosts Ghostsfrom April 14 to June 19, 2013 in their new Project Space, located in the beautiful, intimate lower gallery. Be sure to visit Antonia Reiner Fibre Art + Installations for more information and lovely photos of Antonia’s work.



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