Feb 7, 2009

craft in america

so, jason schneider, the boss-type from anderson ranch, has a bunch of pieces in a really sweet little show at the boston society of arts and crafts. i went to the opening last night and he'd come in from snowmass with erin and was there with a vast number of his family up from new jersey. the gallery was full of people who were actually buying pieces (noticeably, the functional pieces sold quickly, the sculptural ones did not). craft in america: a focus on wood was a little uneven, but had way more nice pieces than not. the ones which particularly appealed to me were:

  • jason's wall cabinet (i forget the name). it looks simple and goofy but is very complicated since it is a volume (with 9 inclusions) that curves in 2 or more planes simultaneously. it's one of his line of pieces made of laminated corrugated cardboard pieces that are then shaped and (sometimes, like in this case) filled with encaustic medium or plaster. the cabinet is a billowy-looking mass with sides that curve away from each other; there are 9 drawers whose faces are flush with the curving front (all made of ash, and the ones i sneaked a peek at were each perfectly-made). more of his stuff is visible here, though not the awesome cabinet.
  • matthias pliessnig's line of little doodads of wire, snapped and bent wood, thread, and other detritus. i passed these by the first time, but they repay extended contemplation and have a really marvellous sense of tension and whimsy in them. (see the range of them here.)
  • a strange ladder-like sculptural piece by ashley jameson eriksmoen. i don't know what it is or what it's supposed to do, but any piece that uses lap joints and secures them with rawhide and features unpolished brass has me at its mercy.
  • christine lee's three windows full of assembled shims. i like pieces like that, which make use of masses of similar objects. she flew in last sunday and began assembling thousands of these little wedge-shaped wood pieces on monday morning and finished the installation minutes before the show opened last night. more on her shim work here.
  • mark gardner's boat form. this was really remarkable: black walnut, turned first and then cut, polished, painted, and carved. the carving especially was tremendously repetitive and perfectly-done. beautiful from 5 feet away, 3 feet, and up real close too. (check out this detail of one of his carved bowls, and the rest of his portfolio).

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