| Without Boundaries was inspired by the 1986 exhibition Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical curated by Paul J. Smith at the American Craft Museum. Celebrating the art of the handmade in the1980s, this landmark exhibition demonstrated the shift in the word craft. Paul J. Smith stated, “Modern industrialized society eliminates the need to make essentials for living by hand. As a result craft has transcended its traditional role and meaning.” Craft Today noted the new interest in design and the decorative and, at the time, more stylized images and graphic forms began to appear in the work. Craft was being reinvented and Smith discussed craft in four ways: the object as a statement, an object made for use, the object as a vessel and the object as personal adornment. Poetry of the Physical presented a variety of artists who worked in all craft media and who were, at that time, on the forefront of the art scene.
The 21st century bombards us with endless media, ideas, images and technology. The word craft continues to evolve and so do the artists who work in the craft media. Without Boundaries looks at what constitutes craft today. Lynn Hamilton selected the work for this exhibition by following up on the artists who participated twenty-five years ago in the Poetry of the Physical. What she found was that the artists and their art took some interesting turns and adaptations in the last 25 years. Without Boundaries again redefines craft by presenting work in craft materials or combinations of unconventional materials, including video.
Lynn Friedman Hamilton not only takes an interest in the materiality of the work but asks the question, “What are the transformations to the artists’ ‘essential core’ and how have the trajectories of their lives affected and reinvented their art?” Elements in their transformation include the use of technology, new materials and a focus on current events and personal experiences. We observe, for example, how fiber artist Michael James utilizes the technology of digital imagery in his work. Currently, Michael prints photographic images of nature on fabric which he incorporates in his quilts. Glass artist, Susan Stinsmuehlan- Amend, also includes digital manipulations and photographic images to reflect on her life experiences. Originally classified as a glass artist, Ray King has moved into large site-specific installations and has even embraced video art. This video art, a new material, allows the viewer to experience King’s sound and light investigations.
The artists in Without Boundaries have embraced new materials and technologies but they have also found techniques to re-use or ‘up-cycle’ everyday objects in their work. Glen Kaufman, inspired by garments depicted in votive sculptures from early Mesopotamia, uses red polyethylene newspaper delivery bags with plastic fences as his armatures to create his own interpretation of this ancient garment.
Concern for the environment and details of daily life continue to be important issues that artists explore. In her powerful porcelain sculptures, Paula Colton Winokur traces the fragility of Icelandic glaciers. Patti Warashina has moved into a deeper life narrative derived from her 30 years of teaching, from being a “news junkie”, and from her mother’s influence as a strong role model. Patti Warashina’s work is colorful and playful but it is also thoughtful commentary.
This exhibition presents craft as a contemporary, relevant art form constantly adapting to new materials and ever changing technology. The work confronts and reflects current issues. Every artist in this exhibition continues to develop personally as an artist and as a person; each of them influence and inspire emerging artists; and they remain powerful voices in the forefront of the contemporary art scene. Craft Alliance thanks the participating artists and Lynn Friedman Hamilton for creating Without Boundaries, a dynamic and exciting exhibition that charts the transformation of craft in the last twenty-five years. And we look forward to seeing how craft will develop and evolve over the next twenty-five years.
Director of Exhibitions
John Babcock, Sonja Blomdahl,
Ana Lisa Hedstrom,
Gretchen K. Raber,
Amy Roberts Chamberlain,
Mary Ann Scherr,
Bill (William) Underhill,
Paula Colton Winokur
Ripening: Ideas, Works, Lives
Panel Discussion led by Buzz Spector, Dean of College and Graduate School of Art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visaul Arts, with exhibiting artists, John Babcock, Pat Hickman, and Tom Lundberg
Saturday, August 25, 3:30pm at the Regional Arts Commission, Conference Room B. FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
WORKSHOP: Natural Dyes and Shibori with Ana Lisa Hedstrom
Sat., Aug. 25, Sun., Aug. 27, Mon., Aug. 27 10A-4P--Delmar Loop studios
Virtual Boundaries: A Collaboration with Transversal Project
Friday, October 5, 8:30pm-9:30pm
View artists films projected on the front of the Craft Alliance Delmar Loop building. FREE and OPEN THE THE PUBLIC
Curator’s Discussion in the Gallery
Sunday, October 21, 1:00pm
Join Lynn Friedman Hamilton, Curator, and Jim Harris, Artist & Art Historian, as they
have a lively discussion about the exhibition. FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Without Boundaries: Transformations in American Craft News and Coverage
Revisiting "Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical" by Jessica Shaykett, American Craft Council, August 24, 2012
Video: American Arts Experience: Craft Alliance, HECTV, September, 2012
Video: Maturity and It's Muse: Episode 36/Life Stages, September, 2012
PRESS RELEASE (PDF)