This year's Renwick Invitational features the work of four craft artists—Steven Young Lee, Kristen Morgin, Jennifer Trask and Norwood Viviano—who share a common interest in the exploration of materiality, as well as the processes of transformation, decay, and rebirth. Whether they are working in clay, glass, wood, or bone, the artists set out to shape a world that references the past, yet owes its existence to an uncertain future. According to Nora Atkinson, the museum's Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, "These artists are united by a love of physical materials in a time when many objects are disappearing in favor of a virtual world."
Steven Young Lee remixes Eastern and Western aesthetics to create deconstructed ceramic works that explore beauty in the imperfect, often with a sense of humor. His Granary Jar exhibits a traditional Korean form, yet is painted with depictions of mascots from American breakfast cereals, including Tony the Tiger and the Trix Rabbit. Kristin Morgan, too, references culture both high and low, using unfired clay to create trompe l'oeil sculptures and assemblages that explore nostalgia, obsolescence and the American dream. Think Mighty Mouse and Popeye and a James Dean-inspired car.
With the sensibility of a naturalist, Jennifer Trask creates jewelry and sculpture that uses fragments of bone, antlers, antique frames, and natural materials. Her poetic works show the world as both fragile and strong at the same time. In contrast to Trask's "world of nature" tableaux, Norwood Viviano is all about the city. His glass and metal works use cutting-edge technology to explore the nature of industry and the shifting populations of cities. He combines data from LiDAR scan technology, antique maps and historical census data,and employs techniques as varied as bronze casting, kiln-fusing, glass blowing and 3-D printing.
Interested in learning more about the artists? A series of free public programs will accompany the exhibition. Three of the artists will discuss their work at the Renwick: Norwood Viviano Thursday, October 13, at 5:30 p.m.; Kristen Morgin Sunday, October 30, at 2 p.m.; and Jennifer Trask Tuesday, December 6, at 5:30 p.m. Curator Nora Atkinson will present a gallery talk on the four artists on Friday, October 21, at noon.
Visions and Revisions: The Renwick Invitational 2016 is on view from September 9, 2016 through January 8, 2017.