Your friendly neighborhood (psst——now international!) contemporary craft exhibition is back in Denton for another year, and let us be the first to tell you, it’s looking mighty fine. Keep reading for some of our first impressions and favorites.
Materials: Hard + Soft is more than just a name that makes us giggle. It’s also one of the foremost craft exhibitions in the country! If you’re fuzzy on the term “craft” when it comes to fine arts, take a look back at our review of last year’s show. The basic idea is that it’s a collection of objects and installations that display innovative design and handiwork, through the use of alternative or repurposed materials.
So, what does craft look like? In this show, it can look like a beautifully angular, fully functional chair made from white ash, or a modern hanging lamp constructed out of aluminum, plastic and plywood. Things that would naturally serve both form and function in any home. It also looks like jewelry——there’s a lot of jewelry in this show! Luxurious-looking necklaces made of non-luxurious household products, like zippers and safety pins. Sounds kitschy, but it’s really not! These artists have managed to create beautiful and sophisticated pieces. A favorite of ours is an all-white “Garland” necklace (made from 3D printed plastic) that looks like shark teeth or a string of armadillo scales - we can’t decide which, but it doesn’t matter, because either way, it’s pretty cool.
“Craft” also looks like less practical, more decorative pieces. We love the gorgeous ceramics in this exhibit. There are earthenware vessels and blue porcelain cups that felt so calming to us, we may as well have been in a spa. One bowl, aptly entitled Softness, has a surface so smooth it could’ve been carved from marble, although in reality it was formed out of wood and holly.
Need even LESS functional pieces? How about jumbo marshmallows with sumi ink drawings on them? Yep, it’s getting good and weird now. Keeping with the food vibes, take a look at the pile of sugary blue flowers reminiscent of a decorative cake topper, although these ones are actually comprised of sand, wood, and porcelain.
Another curious favorite is the Lichen Party Frock, a creepy fabric wall-hanging that embodies its fungal namesake, resembling another life form and giving us the strange feeling that we were being ogled. But we’ve saved the best and creepiest for last: the must-see piece from this year’s show (in our humble opinion) is an installation entitled All That I Love. This collection of paper & aluminum bugs (think origami-style construction) bursts from the corner of the gallery and climbs up the walls, seeming like an almost too-realistic infestation. Look really closely at these lil’ guys—they’re painted in beautiful metallic hues. This piece creeps along several surfaces within the gallery, so we recommend checking over your shoulder if you want to make sure you’re seeing it all. And don’t stomp on them! They scuttle out onto the gallery floor as well. Save the beetles; mind your step!
These are just a few from what we think is a really great show! The GDAC (Greater Denton Arts Council) is upping the art game lately, ya’ll. We’ll leave you with one last thing: a comment from the juror of this exhibit, JoAnn Edwards: “[Art] in any form incites an important sense of place for artists and viewers alike… Creative practice helps build a rich path to well-being and vitality, nurturing a fundamental cultural groundwork for humanity.”
Days like these (and at all times) we find the idea of creativity as a “groundwork for humanity” pretty darn encouraging. Great things are happening, and you are lucky enough to be apart of this community, so go and take a look!
Materials: Hard + Soft (International Contemporary Craft Competition & Exhibition)
Meadows Gallery, Patterson-Appleton Arts Center
$5 for public, FREE for GDAC Members, students, & children under 12
February 4 - May 6, 2017