Monday, November 14, 2016

Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show Part 1

by Staci Louise Smith

I finally got to make to the Philly Museum Art show that is held at the PA Convention Center.  It is an hour drive or train ride for me, yet I have never been there- go figure.  So my mom, my daughter and I hopped a train and made an afternoon of it.   

It was Julia's first train ride and she really loved it.

We got to watch the landscape change from rural to urban on our way into the city.  I have and will always love the street art and graffiti.  I tried to snap a few pictures, but the train moves fast.


The walk from the train station to the Convention center is all inside a magnificent building.  I snapped a few pictures, but Julia did too.  I liked seeing what she thought was amazing- she took pictures of the elevator (I think she was amazed at how far up and open the ceiling was- it dawned on me, that she hasn't been in such a large building before?  Maybe a mall in her early early years?  but no large city buildings).  She asked me to take her picture in front of the mural too.  


I honestly think I had as much fun seeing her experience the beauty of the city for the first time too.




OK OK- enough about our trip.  Let's get to the good stuff.  

The art was mouth watering.  


I mean, the talent here was out of the world.  Not just the concepts, and the colors and the forms and textures, but the mastery of craft........I was in heaven and overload at the same time.  Today I am going to highlight some of the sculptures that caught my eye (and captured my heart).  Sculpture has always had a special place in my heart, and in school, it was probably my favorite art class.  So when I see people just rocking it, like it is an effortless flow from their being  (I know it's not effortless), it almost makes me cry with joy. I enjoy nothing more then witnessing others expressions of art first hand.  So let's get started.........

There was a glass artist there, Anna Boothe.  Her work had the look of old glass, her pieces has a relic feel to them, yet a modern twist.  Of course, this spoke to me, because I love all things ancient modern.  Most of her work is kiln cast.......and you can read more about her and her work here.




Images from Anna's website

Next up is Nile and Michelle Fahmy. They are master metal smiths.  I almost wanted to bow to her.  Their mastery of metal is humbling to say the least.

Here is a bit from their artist statement (they are a brother sister team)
Our metalwork is driven by ancient techniques, some of which date back to the Bronze Age. This means that we practice and preserve smithing techniques that are rarely seen in our world today. Every piece produced requires a great amount of focus, control, physical strength, and endurance. A single vessel may require thousands of hammer blows and hundreds of hours of labor. Each finalized piece of art is completely unique due to the nature of the forging process.

We draw our inspiration from the patterns of the natural world. These patterns of growth, erosion, and decay are everywhere around us. By studying these patterns, we can use a hammer to be wind on stone, water on earth, or the gentle unfurling of a young leaf. The metal moves again and again beneath the hammer blow, eventually coming to rest in a new form, and finally the creative process is complete. Nothing is added, nothing is subtracted, there is only the metamorphosis.


I saw their work before I saw their statement, and let me tell you, it rings so true.  You can feel the raw energy of their work when you walk into their booth.  You can see the deliberate hammer blows that had to happen to create these 3-d vessels from sheet metal.  






Do you need a break yet?  A cool drink perhaps?  I mean, that is just two of the amazing sculpture artists from the show.  Ready for more???

Then, there was Wolf Creek Studio, composed of Sharon Matusiak and Robin Washburn.  They are mixed media artists who work together.  (Please check out their site for amazing works of art)

Metal, wood, paint.........you have to see this video about their studio and art.  (the video is done by Ethan Allen studio- stick with it through the Ken Gray plug in the beginning).  You have got to see the studio and their works.



Wasn't that an awesome tour???


Next, meet Su Griggs Allen.  She was a delight to talk to and her work is something straight out of my dreams.  



Her booth pulled me in, and I wish I had more time to take in each and every piece.  she was a delight to talk to as well.









It was fun to chat with her, as she shared how she has been desiring to go smaller and make some jewelry.  This struck me, because I, who make jewelry often dream of going larger into sculpture.  Us artists get bored and need to change things up often I think!  One of the things I love about the chance to talk to other creative minds is how much we all have in common.

And last but not least, there was Judit Varga.  Her work was by far my favorite, and when you see it I think you will know why.  Her form, her colors, her textures.................they were organic and modern, like urban decay.  All ceramic, all clay based coloring..........every single piece was amazing (we were there on Sunday, and I heard from her friend that most of her big pieces had sold already).  





 This piece was my favorite at the show!  

I loved the striped and broken form of the circle, the folding and wilting.  I loved the rusty box it sat on, the contrast of colors.  The organic painted appearance of the base against an almost fabric print stripe.  My words don't do it justice.  


This piece is hollow.  As if it were not amazing enough...........

I also grabbed some photos from her website, in case my poor in person pics were not enough for you to swoon.







I have to stop here.  When I say this show is overwhelming, I think you can get the idea.  This is only a drop in the bucket. 

I really hope you will visit the websites of these amazing artists.  Their work is inspiring.  THEY are inspiring!  
And tune in Thursday to see my jewelry favorites from the show.  :sigh:  that may take take blogs itself....................... 

4 comments:

LauraSouderStudio said...

Thank you for being our tour guide. Inspiring!

Carol Dekle said...

Wonderful post Staci! I loved the video and also learning about the artist's and their work. It sounds like Julia really enjoyed herself! What a very special memory for you guys to have. I look forward to your next post!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Awesome post, Staci! That metalwork...swoon! How cool you had a Girls Day Out with your daughter and Mom! :)

Lu Heater said...

Staci...
When I hear the words "urban decay, something like trash and other stuff bordering on hideous comes to mind. But now you've showed me how to look for, if not always beauty, amazement! Thank You! ...Lu

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