The four featured artists were selected by a panel of distinguished jurors, each with a wide knowledge of contemporary American makers. The panel included Emily Zilber, independent curator and director of curatorial affairs and strategic partnerships at the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, Pennsylvania; Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for the Renwick Gallery; and Stefano Catalani, executive director of the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle. Emily Zilber is organizing the exhibition.
Lauren Fensterstock (b. 1975, resides Portland, Maine) creates detailed, large-scale installations using labor-intensive modes of making drawn from the decorative arts, including paper quilling and mosaic. For this exhibition, SAAM has commissioned a site-specific work—the first in a new series for the artist inspired by sources like The Book of Miracles, a richly illustrated sixteenth-century German manuscript—that will transform an entire gallery at the Renwick into a celestial landscape that captures the power and awe inherent in natural phenomena.
Timothy Horn (b. 1964, resides Provincetown, Massachusetts) creates exaggerated adornments that combine natural and constructed worlds, taking inspiration from objects as varied as seventeenth-century jewelry patterns and nineteenth-century studies of lichen, coral, and seaweed. He works with traditional materials, such as bronze and glass, as well as surprising ones, like crystalized rock sugar, which refers to the extravagant Amber Room of Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
Debora Moore (b. 1960, resides Seattle) is best known for her exquisitely detailed glass renderings of orchids, to which she devoted her practice from the mid-1990s until recently. In her new tour de force series, Arboria (2018), featured in this exhibition, Moore has branched out from the orchid to focus on four life-size flowering trees of different varieties: cherry, magnolia, winter plum, and wisteria. Moore’s work presents a new chapter in the long history of representing plants in glass, which ranges from ancient renderings to nineteenth-century models used for scientific study. For Moore, she focuses less on realism and more on capturing an intensely personal experience of beauty and wonder.
Rowland Ricketts (b. 1971, resides Bloomington, Indiana) creates immersive installations using handwoven and hand-dyed cloth. His holistic artistic practice begins on his farm, where he cultivates the indigo plants he uses to color his artwork, fully linking his material and process with the finished product. Ricketts often incorporates participatory engagement from non-artists, emphasizing the relationship between nature, culture, the passage of time, and everyday life.
The Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation Endowment provides support for the Renwick Invitational. The Cohen Family’s generosity in creating this endowment makes possible this biennial series highlighting outstanding craft artists who are deserving of wider national recognition. Additional support has been provided by the Carolyn Small Alper Exhibitions Fund, Ed and Kathy Fries, Cary J. Frieze, Bannus and Cecily Hudson, James Renwick Alliance, Klorfine Foundation, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Eleanor T. Rosenfeld, Myra and Harold Weiss, and In-kind support has been provided by the Tokushima Prefectural Office.
SAAM presented a virtual program series featuring artists Lauren Fensterstock, TimothyHorn, Debora Moore, and Rowland Ricketts as part of Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020. Each of these invited artists looks to nature as a way to contemplate what it means to be human in a world increasingly chaotic and divorced from our physical landscape. Enjoy programming that ranges from artist conversations with curators to workshops and studio tours.
“Natural motifs are common in the decorative arts. But there is nothing dainty or domestic about the works on view in Forces of Nature... The four invited artists use traditional techniques to make pieces that are distinctive, timely and way too big to fit in the pantry.”
– Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post