Friday, December 16, 2011

The New Materiality at The Asheville Art Museum

Tim Tate; Burned but Not Forgotten

Artists respond to technology’s ubiquity by combining traditional crafting methods with electronic media. The New Materiality,
a traveling show curated by Fo Wilson of The Fuller Craft Museum, assesses the boundaries between the handmade and the automated, the traditional and the contemporary. Among the work presented: Videos of oak trees embedded into a classically crafted wooden table, jewelry constructed from pixelated low resolution images of gems, woven tapestries depicting the sound waves of hand-operated and mechanized looms, and hand-blown glass vessels ornamented with cast glass encasing mini videos that pay homage to books.

Donald Fortescue and Lawrence LaBianca; Sounding

There are a few glitches in the presentation: some batteries need recharging, and not everything is operating at its fullest capacity, though from a certain perspective this points to a larger issue regarding electronic technology’s fragility and current dependence upon finite resources. Still, considering the multifaceted creative legacy of Western North Carolina, this exhibit is very relevant to the local dialogue of contemporary art and craft, and is worth seeing. Kudos to the museum for exhibiting new media.

Read more: Art Bets Mtn Xpress Dec 14

Through March 18 at the Asheville Art Museum. $8 for nonmembers. Free every first Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m.


The Shady Lamp Factory said...

Hi Ursula,
The points you make about the the greater implications of this show (dialogue of contempt. art/craft, and the museum's exhibition of new media) are great. I agree and think this was the strongest part of the show as a whole. Overall, however, I found it to be a bit too contrived.
Yes, shows of this nature are inherently contrived (that is not always a bad thing), but there is a certain danger an artist faces when he or she is working to adhere to a theme when that "theme" for so many is actually a medium. Like Portlandia's, "Put a bird on it!" sketch, I call this, "Put a screen on it!". Too many new-media artists, or those who want to incorporate it into their work, focus on conveying electronic technology/media on an excruciatingly literal level.
The textiles at this show are quite nice in both concept and execution (though they were so similar they appeared to be by the same maker).
Thanks for keeping such a nice blog!
( : Lauren Bacchus

Ursula said...

Hi Lauren,

I will be thinking long and hard about this point that you made: "There is a certain danger an artist faces when he or she is working to adhere to a theme when that "theme" for so many is actually a medium."

Thanks for your comments!