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To Be: (Determined) – An Exhibition of the First Five


Laura Prieto-Velasco
Laura Prieto-Velasco, Phona-Form Brooch 2, iron wire, carpet tacks, paint, tape, silver
Laura Prieto-Velasco
Laura Prieto-Velasco, Phona-Form Brooch 3, iron wire, carpet tacks, paint, silver
Seth Papac
Seth Papac, Collected and Fabricated Parure, 22 karat gold, silver, brass, paint, found objects

When attempting to locate contemporary metalwork within the discourse of contemporary art, an artist like Cornelia Parker often comes to mind. She has steamrolled elegant silver tableware, crushed French horns and trombones, cut and reassembled gold wedding rings and drawn into fine wire, teaspoons and coins that measure the immeasurable. Actually, she hasn’t done anything to these objects. Rather she has hired others, skilled laborers and craftsmen to execute her ideas. As I visited this exhibition, I couldn’t help but think of Parker, an artist who reveres craft, but only as a means to its unmaking. Conversely, the work in To Be: (Determined) presents emerging artists who have honed their craft, honoring the history of their materials and the esoteric knowledge necessary to produce the range of objects on display. Where an artist like Parker subverts the history of craft through grand gestures of destruction, the jewelers in To Be: (Determined) subvert the history of metalsmithing through their use of quotidian materials and their representation of seemingly inconsequential actions, all the while maintaining a dedication to their discipline.

Author

  • Yumi Janairo Roth is professor of sculpture at the University of Colorado. She received a BA in anthropology from Tufts University, a BFA from the School for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has exhibited and participated in artist-in residencies nationally and internationally.

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