MATERIAL ISSUES: STRATEGIES IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CRAFT
MAIN GALLERY PRESENTED BY DIANE & SAM STEWART
Material Issues: Strategies in 21st Century Craft explores the use of craft-based materials, processes, and aesthetics. Unjustly, objects using craft-based techniques have typically been dismissed as “women’s work,” “folkish,” or even kitsch due to their mass appeal and often functional qualities. Historically, these objects often had a defined use in everyday life from rugs to quilts to ceramic vessels and, therefore, because of this functionality, were not “elevated” to the level of other media, such as painting or sculpture, by academic institutions and scholars. For these reasons, craft-based work is widely left out of overall critical conversations about art and culture.
However, it is precisely in their usefulness, their ability to offer meaning, and ultimately, their familiarity, that craft-based works deserve more rigorous investigation and inclusion. The materials and modes of making are inherently democratized and thus ideal for critiquing the institutions that dismiss their value as well as the systems that create such structures of power and privilege. The strength and paradox of the media is exactly why artists working today continue to use the traditions of craft, adopting and incorporating these marginalized techniques into their practices.
The objects in this exhibition address a broad spectrum of issues from the environment, to racism, to feminism, illustrating the versatility of the materials and processes employed to question, confront, and spark dialogue.
PATRICK DEAN HUBBELL