PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
FOCUS: SOFA. Not just something to decorate with ridiculously overstuffed pillows.
SOFA* New York 2011
1. A long upholstered seat with a back and arms, for two or more people
2. Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Expo
A mostly visual journey.
With a few words thrown in for zest.
Steven Brian Samuels (aka Stevie B.)
Tabitha L. Mitchell
A Different Approach
This year we took a different approach as we began our SOFA journey. Instead of letting our feet follow our usual trail from known gallery to known gallery, we let our eyes lead and our feet catch up. This new way of approaching the show had more to do with a new booth layout then any conscious decision we may have made.
We don’t know why the location of many of the galleries booths had changed, maybe the organizers thought a new layout would be refreshing to visitors, and if that’s true it worked very well. SOFA felt a bit fresher, at least to us.
We liked this idea so much that we plan on refreshing the shows we go to yearly by walking a different path then the ones we have established in years past. We haven’t yet tried this approach at another art show yet, but we do go hiking in the woods, and simply reversing our start and end point has dramatically changed our perspective of common surroundings and have made our old trails new again.
Back to our eyes…
Our first eye catcher was a piece by Jun Kaneko. We had been lucky to see a Jun Kaneko exhibit in Arkansas where Stevie B. served as a juror for the state's Governor Art Awards. Luckier still, we went to the gallery with fellow juror, Professor Richard
Hirsch of the ceramics department of RIT, who for some odd reason became
our guide. Thanks again Richard!
Perhaps it was our history with Kaneko that caught our eye, or perhaps it was the “simple” perfect imperfection of the work itself.
From Kaneko our eyes were opened wide by the color pallet and patterns of Jan Huling’s bead work.
We just couldn’t help ourselves from smiling, which the artist loves to see. We watched as other visitors entered the booth and immediately began to smile. Very infectious.
Smiles and a bit of uncertainty attracted us to Jennifer Trask's work.
“What do you mean it's bone? It couldn’t possibly be bone! It’s too beautiful!”, one visitor announced.
From bones of animals to animals with no bones. Geoffrey Gorman’s work attracted us with its strong feeling of bound energy.
Keys, weights, and other objects hang like talisman of an unknown power, though the artist assured us that they were donations from friends.
We still have our doubts.
Notice a trend?
At SOFA many of the artists are there to talk with. What a truly fantastic opportunity for a collector, artist, student, or anyone interested in art!
We were drawn back to the art by the colors of Katherine Glover’s work, which had a vibrancy far past the colors themselves.
The colors and whimsy of Irina Zaytceva’s Eunuch Musician drew us in close.
We could almost see the hand strumming the lute.
It was presence and weight of Jaehyo Lee’s Round Chair that halted us next.
We felt like climbing in and taking a rest but our eyes wandered and we had no choice but to follow…
To a William Morris Vessel.
Amazing colors and movement, and, well, it’s a William Morris!
Speaking of movement...
Junko Mori’s Lichen Petals.
Like a frozen movement of a school of some sort of strange alien fish.
Even in the photograph the work still seems to be on the verge of some great movement that will leave the space empty if we just blink.
Karl Fritsch’s rings helped feed our eyes next. Always a bit strange & refreshing, our fingers twitched to try them on but our eyes decided they wanted more eye-candy.
Ramón Puig Cuyàs work tugged at our eyes and our memories as well (Metalsmith Magazine).
The work of Lino Tagliapietra held our eyes for a long time as they playfully traced the lines and colors of the glass.
Playfulness and smiles abound with Esther Shimazu’s Float.
Esther’s work always make us smile, though our teeth aren’t porcelain just yet.
Our eyes also loved Christopher A. Klien's oil paintings as well, especially Shackled Hope. (Ann Nathan Gallery) Unfortunately the camera's eye blinked or some such thing, so please check the links for his work as well.
Costume Costume Photobooth at Sienna Gallery kept eyeballing us! From what we saw, the Photobooth was a hit!
If it wasn’t, do you think artists Thomas Gentille and Donald Friedlich would be loitering about in front of it?
Well, not exactly loitering.
Thomas was waiting for his pictures to be developed and Donald was waiting to have his picture taken.
Come to think about it, we were the loiters.
We also met artists Christa Assad & Molly Hatch, both potters.
But believe us, this isn't your mum’s pottery.
Unless your mum is Banksy.
Putting aside the skill and artistry of Sergei Isopus sculptures, if one can, they never fail to amuse and fascinate.
While our own interpretations of the narratives may not always hit the mark, or even come close, to us that’s part of the fun we have with his work.
At the end of the day the show was closing, along with our eyes, so we leave you with our last vision...
Till next time Crafthausers...
The Lectures – SOFA offered many in-booth and room lectures this year, but unfortunately we were unable to attend any. Hopefully next year life will decide not to interrupt so much.
Mobilia Gallery - (again ) We miss you!
Snyderman-Works Galleries - Sources say they backed out last minute. Unknown why.
The filled “Artist Zoo” (aka the bench in front of the Snyderman-Works Galleries booth) and the gallery itself was missed by many. Never feed the artists! They just aren't use to it.
About the Authors:
Steven Brian Samuels – A deity of the small g variety that's still working toward that big G one day. Also the outrageous made up name of artist Stevie B.
He likes photographing other peoples art (OPA): www.artjewelryphotography.com
Some of his jewelry can be seen here www.steviebjewelry.com (needs a facelift) & a few pieces of his will be in the upcoming Metalsmith Exhibit In Print.
Tabitha L. Mitchell – Wearer of many hats, including: writer, artist, psychologist, and Super Hero.
Nominee for Buddha's Award for Infinite Patience because Steven has yet to update her site which can be seen here: www.compulsivejewelry.com
NYC April 14-17 (Unless you have your own TARDIS you will have to wait till next year. Mines on loan.)
Santa Fe August 4-7
Chicago November 4-6 (Say “Hello” to our Uncle Howie & Aunt Marsha! Win a prize!)
Artist / Gallery Representation @ SOFA
And just in case someone out there has been living in a dried grass hut on the Moon in some parallel universe where he doesn't exist...