CraftTexas 2012—Staff Favorites!

Posted November 5, 2012 in Blog

Elizabeth DeLyria’s “Driftwood Cairn.” Photo by Elizabeth DeLyria.

CraftTexas 2012 has been up for a month, giving the staff plenty of time to stroll through the gallery space and check out the show a few times. The time has come to share with you what the staff’s favorites are.

But before we do, just in case you aren’t familiar, CraftTexas 2012 is the seventh in a series of biennial juried shows showcasing the best in Texas-made contemporary craft. All craft media are represented–wood, fiber, glass, metal, ceramics, mixed media–and the exhibition presents functional pieces as well as work that is strictly sculptural. There is something in this show for everyone. So, let’s see what each staff member picked as her piece of choice.

Executive Director, Julie Farr’s favorite piece in the show is Elizabeth DeLyria’s Driftwood Cairn because, she says, “at first glance it is an unassuming pile of natural materials. But when you tell the viewer that the work is COMPLETELY ceramic, it stops them in their tracks and invites intense observation. Viewers then question how clay can be made to so perfectly duplicate the textures of driftwood, the patterns of stone, and the smoothness of surfaces etched by water. And it doesn’t hurt that Libby experimented with and mastered these techniques while she was a HCCC resident artist.”

Kara Niles, Development Coordinator, stated, “It was a close race, but I think I have to choose Paula Gron’s My Toothbrush. I love how it takes a traditional craft, basket weaving, and departs into unknown territory. It makes me happy to look at it and it continually catches and holds my attention. I love how it is whimsical/fantastical yet somehow dangerous, precarious and yet solid.”

Jenny Lynn Weitz, Graphic Designer and Marketing Coordinator, chose Edward Lane McCartney’s Folio Chromatique #7, The Velocity of Color. She said it’s her favorite for the same reasons that inspired him to make it. “We both admire the work of Latin American artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and McCartney did a magnificent work interpreting color in space, while keeping his unique style, material approach and craftsmanship.”

Edward Lane McCartney’s “Folio Chromatique #7, The Velocity of Color.” Photo by Eric Hester.

Paula Gron’s “My Toothbrush.” Photo by Eric Hester.

Education Director, Miriam Mendoza, also chose Paula Gron’s My Toothbrush. Miriam says it’s her favorite because, she pushes the boundaries of contemporary craft.  I appreciate that she uses a traditional craft process but does not create a traditional functional craft product.  In this particular piece, she weaves around branches and incorporates other found objects to create a non-functional sculptural form that references a mass-produced functional object, the toothbrush.  There’s nothing ordinary about this toothbrush, though. It seems to have a life of its own. Personally, it makes me uneasy as I imagine that at any moment the branches will start growing rapidly in all directions and out of control until the entire gallery is transformed into a surreal tangled web of branches. This piece awakens my wild imagination and, in my opinion, her piece is successful partly because it incites such a strong reaction.”

Anna Walker, Curator, chose Danny Kamerath’s Dinner for Two as her favorite. Because furniture is larger in scale, Anna was pleasantly surprised and intrigued by the charming miniature scale of the table and chairs that were skillfully carved from pieces of Yupon Holly. She is captivated by the experience of bending down and looking at the piece from a certain height, a feeling of being an outsider and looking into a doll-sized world.

Support Services and Volunteer Manager, Marina Lewis, chose Renew by Samara Rosen as her favorite. Marina loves the fact that Rosen has taken found and discarded fibers, which otherwise would have been trash, and used them to create a stunning colorful wall installation. She loves the idea of recycling, paying homage to the material’s history and giving a new life to these items.

David Langley’s Contemplation was the favorite of Asher Gallery Manager, Suzanne Sippel. She chose this one because of its interesting design aesthetic.  She likes the pairing of the organic woods with the industrial-feeling aluminum.

View of “CraftTexas 2012” featuring Danny Kamerath’s “Dinner for Two,” Kurt Dyrhaug’s “Field Wing,” George Sacaris’ “Faux Bois Stumps” and “Renew” by Samara Rosen. Photo by Eric Hester.

On view at “CraftTexas 2012”: David Langley’s “Contemplation” and Laura Nicole Kante’s “Equilibrium.” Photo by Eric Hester.

Asher Gallery Sales Associate, M’kina Tapscott’s piece of choice is Tri-Trillion by Kristopher Leinen. M’kina found the contrast of materials to be fascinating and beautiful. The ring reminds her of the juxtaposition of land and sky, the cocobolo band as the earth, and the acrylic form and topaz as the clouds and blue sky. She also loves the architectural elements, and the size of the Topaz doesn’t hurt either.

Curatorial Fellow, Kathryn Hall, chose Laura Nicole Kante’s Equilibrium and stated, “Kante’s web of crocheted linen and cotton pushes the boundaries of needlework. By employing crocheting, a technique traditionally used to make small-scale works like doilies, Kante encourages the viewer to appreciate the delicate decorative patterns that unfold across this large-scale installation. With certain areas intricately woven and others on the verge of unraveling, the artist highlights the process in which the patterns were made.”

“Tri-Trillion” by Kristopher Leinen. Photo by Robly A. Glover.

Griselda Pena’s “Cut.” Photo by TJH Photographics

Deme Wolfe-Power’s “Pearly Whites Brooch.” Photo by Deme Wolfe-Power.

Communications Director, Mary Headrick, couldn’t decide which piece was her favorite.  “I like modern design, clean lines and bold colors, and four pieces really stood out for me:  George Sacaris’ Faux Bois Stumps; Edward Lane McCartney’s Folio Chromatique #7, The Velocity of Color; David Bogus’ Optimist Luggage; and Griselda Pena’s Cut.”

It was really hard for me to choose just one favorite, but I have chosen Deme Wolfe-Power’s Pearly Whites Brooch. This may seem like an unlikely piece to be a favorite because it contains a real human tooth and many may be repulsed by it, but I think that’s what attracted me to it. Her concept and the dialogue she is creating about how we assign value and beauty is what initially struck me about the piece, and, upon seeing it for the first time, the age-old idiom, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” came to mind. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and I find the artist’s ability to create a gorgeous piece of jewelry incorporating something as grotesque as a human tooth to be enthralling.

And you… what’s your CraftTexas 2012 favorite? The exhibition is on view through December 30, 2012.

–Ashley Powell, Curatorial Assistant