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Best in Show: Exhibitions at the SNAG Conference 2011


Kiff Slemmons
Kiff Slemmons, Pride of Paper exhibition, Suyama Peterson Deguchi Architects
Kiff Slemmons
Kiff Slemmons, Pride of Paper exhibition, Suyama Peterson Deguchi Architects. Photo: Mike Holmes

It was not only the notion of tradition or the installation of the work in such a grand austere space that was notable, but also the precious nature of the work. Meticulously placed on acutely angled tables, the jewelry filled the space with a banquet of natural vibrant colors.

Kiff Slemmons
Kiff Slemmons, Pride of Paper exhibition, Suyama Peterson Deguchi Architects. Photo: Mike Holmes
Sondra Sherman
Sondra Sherman, Found Subjects, Marquand Book Studio

The books perched atop the lecterns were constructions of secret hiding places, hollowed out books that could be considered another innocuous manuscript. Innocent? They were not, since beautiful jewelry occupies the hollowed spaces, hiding away as if it were a parasite occupying its host. Sherman uses cursory references to book titles; however, her attention to detail reveals a comprehensive understanding. As Sherman writes in her artist statement, ‘I have not read any of the books as I was not interested in illustrating, but in responding to the title, or purely visual information, and common knowledge of the given subject.’

As with Slemmons’s exhibition, the presentation formalized the work, engaging the viewer by removing the work from a standard plinth and vitrine presentation and allowing the attendees to appreciate the work with the intimacy necessary to view the manuscripts. The works speak to a ‘common knowledge,’ not a language about a specific thing but rather a ‘meta-idea,’ threading together several disassociated ideas and creating phenomena.

Geography
Mike Holmes and Susan Cummins (curators), Geography, Westin Hotel
Earrings Galore, Heidi Lowe
Heidi Lowe Gallery, Earrings Galore, Westin Hotel

 One of my last exhibition visits of the conference almost didn’t happen. Earrings Galore, presented by the Heidi Lowe Gallery, was a noteworthy POP-UP that took place in a re-contextualized hotel room. According to gallery owner Heidi Lowe, the idea for the project was spawned two years earlier, when she carried a small parcel of work with her to the 2009 SNAG conference in Philadelphia and everything sold. Based on the success of her 2009 experience, Lowe planned the Earring Galore pop-up based on her successful annual exhibition held at her gallery in Rehoboth Beach. A call for entries was published and, of the applications received, 27 artists were chosen and presented in Seattle.

 Room 1637 of the Westin Hotel was stripped bare of the chattels assigned to the hotel room: no headboards, no nightstands, just two relocated queen-sized beds looking out on the city’s skyline. The concept of disassembling a perfectly good hotel room added an edge to the show, like rock-stars trashing a hotel room after a drunken bender. At eye level the walls were clad by a sequence of elegant Victorian paper silhouettes adorned with the artist’s earrings.

Author

  • Doug Bucci is an artist and educator in the field of jewelry and metalsmithing. He designs original jewelry pieces using CAD and cutting-edge production processes, such as rapid prototyping, and has worked as a CAD/CAM/RP consultant and designer for several national companies since 1995. He teaches at The Tyler School of Art at Temple University and the University of the Arts, both in Philadelphia. His work has appeared in many publications, including Metalsmith, American Craft and the 500 Series from Lark Books.

    Doug Bucci is an artist and educator in the field of jewelry and metalsmithing. He designs original jewelry pieces using CAD and cutting-edge production processes, such as rapid prototyping, and has worked as a CAD/CAM/RP consultant and designer for several national companies since 1995. He teaches at The Tyler School of Art at Temple University and the University of the Arts, both in Philadelphia. His work has appeared in many publications, including Metalsmith, American Craft and the 500 Series from Lark Books. His jewelry is held in the Design Museum in Helsinki, Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus in Hanau, Germany and the Philadelphia Historical Society.

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