Traveling over four hundred miles away from my comfort-zone of the Philadelphia art scene was an undertaking more ambitious than I normally do. However, the pieces so aptly chosen for this exhibit at downtown Raleigh’s Artspace in North Carolina by juror Gwynne Rukenbrod was more than enough visual stimuli to justify my travels. From a pool of over 430 different works submitted, Rukenbrod, Executive Director of Handmade in America, had the daunting task of selecting only 34 pieces to be displayed in Artspace’s Gallery One.Several of the artists’ works attracted my attention last Friday evening at the show’s opening, simply due to a unified theme of two-dimensional intrigue overtaking the “norm” of the 3-D craft object in the round. Megan Clark’s Stingray Feather Necklace was the first piece in the gallery that instantly engaged me. Clark uses stingray hides that she resources responsibly to create half-marquise-like 2-D patterning in her wearable neckpiece that looks like a microscopic pattern of cell structure, but framed within precious metals of silver and gold. It is in fact a showing of how the interior of an organic “underbelly” can be exposed to work and live harmoniously with the rigid, cool confines of metals and stone (yellow sapphires). Collaborative work is not often seen in the metalsmithing realm, although artists Lisa Wilson and Geoff Riggle work as seamlessly together as one could imagine in their piece, 2012. Riggle’s influence of digital technologies, such as CNC and laser cutting of materials combines with Wilson’s notably dapped metal, elaborately-pierced and hand-fabricated hinged metal sheet constructions to form a Riggle-styled dodecahedron that intricately unfolds from a completely closed twelve-sided object to a cascading intimate sculpture. To add to the excitement, the piece becomes a vessel/container for a smaller, extremely well-fitting interior dodecahedron comprised of sterling silver. We’ve just crossed away from anything here that could possibly be interpreted as “just another 3-d object”. As presented in-depth in a previous post to artdoesmatter, I am fortunate to have one of my jewelry pieces from the Widget Locket series chosen to be in this biennial alongside such a vibrant gathering of contemporary craft artists. In addition to these pieces discussed, works in glass, ceramics, mixed media, wood and fiber are being exhibited at this show.
The Fine Contemporary Craft National Juried Biennial Exhibition can be viewed through January 12th, 2013 at Artspace located at 201 E. Davie Street in downtown Raleigh, NC.
(Images courtesy of the artists and Artspace, Raleigh.)