Crafting a cosmic identity and publication for Zipporah Camille Thompson’s exhibition at the Zuckerman Museum of Art

Client: Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA, and T.K. Smith, Curator

Zipporah Camille Thompson: Looming Chaos. Edited and with contributions by T.K. Smith. Contributions by Dr. Maurita N. Poole, rosa mendez, Zipporah Camille Thompson, Diedrick Brackens, and Dr. Teresa Bramlette Reeves. Published by the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University and Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, 2020. 112 pages, 8 x 12 inches.

Looming Chaos was an exhibition at the Zuckerman Museum of Art showcasing the works of Zipporah Camille Thompson. Thompson engages notions of chaos through weaving. Environmental deterioration, tumultuous personal histories, and complexities of her own identity are raw material for her work. Intertwining them with fine-art media and detritus, she creates fantastical fiber abstractions that signify the creative potential of destruction—rebirth.

The exhibition’s visual identity and publication invoke the most distinctive aspects of Thompson’s practice, from its vibrant and varied materiality, to its focus on the universality of catastrophic experience.

A primordial identity

The logo evokes the material processes and cosmic themes of Thompson’s practice.

The ouroboros is the ancient symbol for eternal return, a nod to the chaos Thompson contends with in her work. The hands are positioned as if they are on a loom, while the custom condensed sans-serif lettering and stacked typesetting suggest the loom’s warp and weft.

Weaving a practice into a publication

An amalgam of contents, visuals, and materials, Looming Chaos is more than a catalogue of Thompson’s work—it is an extension of its spirit.

The holography of the cover and endpapers suggests potential transmutation. The bright red thread binding points to the book as a woven object. The book’s color scheme is based on works in the exhibition.

Looming Chaos features images of artworks, as well as a variety of texts: an essay by the exhibition’s curator, T.K. Smith; a suite of poems by rosa mendez; and a conversation between Thompson and weaver Diedrick Brackens, among others.

Prints of the artist’s sketches are tipped in between sections. Silver-stamped on black paper, like glimmering ideas, they represent works that were in the exhibition but still incomplete at the time of publication.

Illustrations that I created for the book reference ecological and mystical interconnections. The ourorobos recurs in different forms. Twigs, cowry shells, and artifact cups and swords reimagine the four suits of a tarot deck; tarot, a way to discover order within disorder, is important source material for Thompson.