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.

Megan Clark: Stingray Feather Necklace. Sterling, 18K gold, yellow sapphires, stingray leather, 2012.
Megan Clark: Stingray Feather Necklace. Sterling, 18K gold, yellow sapphires, stingray leather, 2012.
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).

Geoff Riggle and Lisa Wilson: 2012. Copper, sterling, nickel, steel, patina, 2010.
Geoff Riggle and Lisa Wilson: 2012. Copper, sterling, nickel, steel, patina, 2009.
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”.

Patricia Sullivan: (detail) Widget Locket. Sterling silver, Katan silk, plexiglas, archival paper, 2012.
Patricia Sullivan: (detail) Widget Locket. Sterling silver, Katan silk, plexiglas, archival paper, 2012.
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.)

Posted by:artdoesmatter

Patricia Sullivan is a metalsmith and studio artist – living in the suburbs of Philadelphia across the great Delaware River in Southern New Jersey for the past 12 years. She spent seven years prior, living in both New York City and the Hudson Valley, New York, studying at Parsons School of Design, moving onward to receive a second degree (post-graduate) in Fine Arts/Metals at SUNY New Paltz. A Philadelphia native, Patricia was exposed to the arts and music of this region since a young age, receiving her first Bachelor's degree at Temple University in Philadelphia before her sojourn to New York began. Patricia has exhibited her artwork nationally. Recently, Ms. Sullivan was one of only thirty-four artists worldwide to exhibit her work at the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design as part of being selected for Metalsmith magazine's prestigious annual "Exhibition in Print - Moved by Metal."

12 replies on “Fine Contemporary Craft Biennial in Raleigh, NC: Not Just 3-D Objects Anymore

  1. Pete – once again, you are absolutely right; I have little to add! I wish you could have seen the ceramic work in this show. This post could have easily been triple in content! Thanks so much for your comments.


  2. Congratulations on having your work in the exhibition. It must have been amazing to make that trip. Thank you for showing us and the stingray feather necklace is also very unique. I am rather taken with your widget locket though. I wish you could see how interesting and beautiful it looks through my eyes.


    1. Gentlestitches – thanks so much for your lovely comments! All of the work in this show was of a level that really pushes the envelope of what craft is and can be. I feel fortunate to have been in such good company. TY again for following artdoesmatter and commenting!


  3. Congratulations, again, Patricia! I really appreciate what the curator, G. Rukenbrod, says in her statement (Gallery One website) about the pieces having a strong conceptual content, without sacrificing functionality and beauty. Your excellent Widget Locket certainly fits that description. Well done!


    1. Thank you so much, Dominique. All of the pieces Gwynne R. selected for this exhibit falls into the stellar category, in my opinion. I’m so glad you stopped by – your thoughts and insights are always welcomed!


  4. Patricia, I was so happy to hear that you got into this show. How wonderful you must feel to be selected out of so many applicants! Your work is interesting conceptually and beautifully executed. Thanks for sharing these other artists pieces, too. That Stingray necklace is really something– how does one come up with an idea like that!


    1. Anita, thank you so much for your lovely compliments, not just for my work but for the other artists too! I agree about Megan Clark’s stingray necklace; isn’t it exceptional? I recently contacted her and was thrilled to learn that this exact piece is in the running for the very prestigious Saul Bell Design Award (given to a jeweler for an exceptionally unique and forward-looking design.) I certainly hope she wins – you should have seen this piece in-person. It really is stunning. Thanks so much, Anita, for stopping by!


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