Saturday, May 31, 2008

David Zuttermeister - A New Symbolism

David Zuttermeister

San Francisco’s David Zuttermeister crafts found-object installations and sculptures that seem to generate a new symbolism of the body that, while utterly new, somehow feel ancient and familiar, touching a deep chord within the viewer. It is not uncommon to find Zuttermeister found object pieces whose hearty ingredients might include towels, sugar cubes, poster tubes, bowling balls, fluorescent lights or ceramic bunnies made to look like dinosaur bones or some elaborate machine.



A transplant to San Franciso from Portland, Oregon David makes the following statement:


The last year in my studio has allowed me to hone a process which privileges accident as the primary mode of making. It is deliberately ad-hoc and haphazard. The realization of some intention is often set aside as future raw material, in favor of the immediate use of the by-product of its creation. The resulting work is often precarious and fragile, threatening its own destruction. My work usually attempts to place myself in relation to some social event or situation, to talk about its own process of construction, and to relate a kind of Zen anxiety with the world.






Often, the shadows cast by his assembled objects play as important a role as the objects themselves, forming entire sections of the assemblages. An interesting property of shadows is that their meaning can change as the light source moves, creating whole new pieces.





Dog Hotel



David's work addresses a keen awareness of bodies and mortality.

Temple of Morteriality (Twin Anxieties)

He recently exhibited at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Altin Rizi – Atelier of Mosaics

Altin Rizi

Altin Rizi uses traditional Roman setting techniques to create his work. He views mosaics as a form of living art.



He has been creating and designing art professionally in a variety of mediums since 1996, following his education in painting and graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana,the capital and largest city of the Republic of Albania.



Altin now has a studio in Berkeley, and if you fall in love with his art and want to learn the traditional methods that he uses, you can take classes from him! He offers classes to small groups of people so that each person will receive lots of individual attention.

Studio RIZI
Altin Rizi - Atelier of Traditional Mosaics
2137 Ashby Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-206-4716





Although mosaic is his preferred medium, Altin has worked in many fields of art and design, including both two and three dimensional work. His work with mosaic art and painting has spanned European venues, including Milan and Paris.


For Altin, mosaic is about the space, the environment, and the ability of living it in everyday life.



He enjoys enhancing architectural elements.



Altin is sensitive to the comfort, beauty, and freshness that mosaic can offer to transform so many different kinds of spaces.




More recently, he has taken on stagecraft and sculptural design projects for parks, hotels, and theaters. He is, indeed, a man of many talents!


You may read more about Altin and DEA Mosaics HERE.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave.....


Someone gave me a very nice, large loom and spinning wheel awhile back but I have yet to learn to use them. I have long been attracted to woven fiber arts, however. From basketry to blankets, woven arts have a deep cultural history that traces back to ancient times. Weaving focuses on the materials and on the manual labor involved as part of its significance.



Twylene Moyer, in her article, Handle with Care: Loose Threads in Fiber, is paraphrased to define woven fiber art as, "When the conscious choice of fiber as medium sets the agenda and the visceral and tactile import of fiber materiality forms an end in itself."

Today, I would like to highlight three contemporary fiber artists whose work caught my attention the last time I was in Santa Fe.

Kate Anderson uses Art Appropriation to create her beautiful, woven contemporary teapots. Inspired by such artists as Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wessleman, Anderson knots waxed linen images that grab the viewer with dynamic shapes and color. Each piece is cleanly finished with stainless steel which compliments the overall design.
Kate Anderson



Anderson states, "Making sculptural art forms by utilizing the repetitive basketry technique called knotting forms the basis of my work regarding content and the blurred edges where art and craft meet. High-art/low-art references come into play by utilizing the teapot, a common craft object, as my sculptural archetype juxtaposed with images appropriated from the world of “high art”. Quotation, allusion, abstraction, and art/craft references all play a part as the knotting process simultaneously creates both structure and image."







Lanny Bergner makes large scale woven sculptures that are an exploration of the unique and infinite variety of forms and patterns found in nature. They are a testament of his love of the natural world. To create his glorious odes to nature, Bergner coils, twists, wraps and knots the materials, with skill and control. He often pairs natural materials such as gourds with industrial metals like screening, wire, silicone and monofilament. Bergner’s work ignites the child-like curiosity in all of us, each piece a celebration of the wonder of the world.

Lanny Bergner





"By using hands-on processes of coiling, fraying, twisting, wrapping, glueing and knotting, I transform industrial screening, wire, silicone and monofilament into organic constructions. My desire is to create works that appear to have grown into being. I love the natural world and am constantly inspired by its beauty and infinite varieties of form. This, in combination with my fears, quirks and joys, results in works that celebrate the wonder of it all."

Lanny Bergner


Jill Nordfors Clark is inspired by the native people of the far north who historically used seal and walrus gut to make functional items such as clothing, bags and hats. She borrows from these tradtions to form her intriging non-traditional baskets. In these unique sculptural pieces, Clark uses elegant needle lace stitches in hog gut. These stitches bind together an array of natural and synthetic materials such as apple tree branches and parachute cord. The resulting forms are incredibly dynamic, luiminous scultures that straddle the line between natural and man-made.

Jill Nordfors Clark

Jill uses hog casings as one of the media for this piece:



"Because of my embroidery background, I often use needle lace stitches (sometimes in combination with twigs), threading the wet casing on a needle, then stitching over a mold to form an open grid-like structure. In other work, I layer sheets of wet casing in a process similar to papier mache', sandwiching threads, wire, and found materials between layers. More recently I dye the casing before stitching, but I still prefer the warm caramel color of the dried natural material."

Jill Nordfors Clark



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vernissage 2008: San Francisco Art Institute MFA Graduate Exhibit


John and I caught the last day of the San Francisco Art Institute Master of Fine Arts exhibit over the weekend. The show took over the massive Herbst Pavillion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco where students exhibited their collective bodies of work.There were well over one hundred artists in this magnificent show, so we saw eye candy at every turn.


Since the 1940’s, the SFAI's interest has been in educating artists who will become creative leaders in their respective fields. In the 1950’s SFAI was responsible for developing the Bay Area Figurative Group founded by painters Elmer Bischoff, David Park, Joan Brown and Frank Lobdell to name a few, and the Funk Movement a fusion of abstract expressionist, figurative and jazz.


In 1961 S.F. Art Institute expanded to include performance and conceptual art, graphic art, typography and political social documentary. Offering photography in 1946 with Ansel Adams establishing the 1st fine art photography department at the school, in 1968 Annie Leibovitz graduated from SFAI.

In the current crop of graduate work, notable are Aria Tudanger’s life sized “Bear” and Lisa Huffman’s “Label, Catalogue of Images”; dresses, shirts, pants with buttons, designer labels, washing instruction labels and price tags tacked, sewn, strung all over each piece, complete with a labeled Barbie dress. Especially notable were the delightful miniature clay and bronze works of William Slavis. What follows are some random photos that I took to give you some highlights of what we experienced.

These pictures depict only one of the miniature scenarios that were created by William Slavis. There were dozens in all...little people in drum circles, running, climbing, having sexual relations.... He made the plastic versions of his bronze figures available to viewers via a vending machine.
William Slavis

William Slavis



This brilliantly delicious painting was made by Korean artist, Olivia Im. Her paintings examine themes of “otherness” by depicting the effects of introducing an outsider into a particular social group. Food-based characters play out psychological battles inspired by Im’s observations of behavioral patterns in children.
Hoyeon Olivia Im

One of my favorite parts of the show was about labels and was created by Lisa Hoffman.
Lisa Hoffman

If we stop long enough to take a second look at the clothes we wear, the symbols and text provided reveal numerous stories. Labels contain information about where an item was made, the fiber content, and care instructions. These become clues to stories of industrialization, globalization, and socialization. Inventory codes and style numbers can be traced back to giant corporate offices far removed from the laborer or the consumer. These companies are responsible for developing billions of products that flood the marketplace regularly, tempting our desires for the item of the moment. Because of current business practices we are able to pay so little for most of the garments we own. It is not uncommon to buy something because it is cheap, wear it only once, and then toss it away. Consumerism that promotes progressively greater levels of consumption can not continue. These days paying a little more, buying a little less, and making and buying locally makes a lot of sense.
Lisa Hoffman

Lisa Hoffman

Aria Tudanger's work was pithy and disturbing at once. Her larger-than-life-sized "bear" and racks of patterns labeled "Not ME" told a story of identification...or was it lack of identification...?
Aria Tudanger

Shortcut to a New You Pattern

Aria Tudanger

Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov's pigment prints from her series, "De Rien ..of nothing" were the result of an intense period of investigation and artistic development.
Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov

Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov

Ryan Verzaal is an artist, musician and cultural nomad, who exhibited these huge slabs of unidentifiable "meat" on ornate pedistals . His work derives from confronting and questioning those in positions of power and privelege. I was fortunate enough to capture this image of a dog questioning what the hell kind of meat was in front of him.
Ryan Versaal


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