I love contemporary crafts—so full of texture, quirkiness, and ingenuity. I look forward to the day when crafts are given as much respect and admiration as what is deemed fine art.
Here's BAM's current lineup:
*Crafting a Continuum—My favorite of the four exhibits. It includes 60+ pieces drawn from the Arizona State University Art Museum’s contemporary craft collection of more than 5,000 objects. It’s a wonderful exhibit that’s too diverse and difficult to describe here. So do yourself a favor and go see this exhibit before it closes on April 27, 2014. Learn more here.
*Fragile Fortress—Wood carvings by Dan Webb. An interesting mixture of the finely carved juxtapositioned with rough, unfinished wood—reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Blockhead Slave sculpture. Some of his pieces have a nightmarish quality and yet, strangely, do not incite fear.
Works include realistic hands attached by carved wooden rings to roughly hewn wood pillars. The rings are thick, such as ones used on the chains attached to manacles on convicts in the past. Several strands of these same wooden rings with heavy looking padlocks form long chains running from floor to ceiling. It’s ironically titled, Rosary. A beautifully carved open-winged dove rests on a wood chunk. A heart-shaped balloon of wood echoing the crinkliness of helium balloons found in card stores seems to float in the air. Delicate dandelions sprout from a redwood block. This exhibit runs until June 15, 2014. Learn more here.
*Life—Ceramic sculptures by Kathy Venter. Over 30 figurative life-sized sculptures, mostly of nude women. After firing and reassembling the parts into complete figures (the figures are too large to fire in the kiln fully assembled), a mixture of white and dental plaster is applied. The seemingly random placement of the mixture on the sculptures and its texture adds great visual and tactile appeal.
Throughout the exhibit, sculptures stand, sit, or recline on the floor. Several are heads and upper torsos. Like circus acrobats, a few hang dramatically in space, casting interesting shadows against the walls and floors. This exhibit runs until June 15, 2013. Learn more here.
*At Your Service—Plates as sculpture from a variety of artists. This exhibit gives you a whole new appreciation of the plate and what can be done with it.
I particularly enjoyed Gesine Hackenberg Makkum Plooishotel’s drilling of plates and making rings and necklaces from the circles she extracts as well as Amelia Toelke’s Light and Shadow, Part 2. Amelia covers plates with faux gold leaf, breaks them along clean lines, and then re-assembles them into a simple, eye-catching pattern adorning BAM's wall. While this picture from the BAM’s website gives you a taste, it does not do justice to the beauty of the piece. This exhibit runs until September 21, 2014. Learn more here.