The quest for an expressive visual language is as old as civilization. How does one identify the pursuit of meaningful inquiry? Individuality and imagination, time and place, all purposely combine to offer untold possibilities.
Content. Means. Inspiration. Authenticity. Re-defining and risk taking.
Looking hard at accomplished, exceptional contemporary works, delving into the masterful continuum of the decorative arts, and focusing expectantly on fresh work of younger makers, one observes how human imagination provides unlimited stimulation for each generation. The rewards for the earnest viewer are abundant. We watch: ideas which bud and proliferate, creative daring being exploded, tentativeness becoming confidence, tactile skills honed by unrelenting purpose, practice and enhanced life experience.
Sometimes quietly subversive; perhaps boldly audacious; sometimes in the evolutionary continuum; or perhaps revolutionary in vastness. Who is a commentator or has a social conscience? Who touches us with quiet, intimate hand scale work? Who offers loudly public, visual adventures of epic proportions? These all can beckon seductively: to be looked at closely, to contemplate at length and to open oneself to feel, to be arrested by exceptional work at the intersection of art/craft.
NEXT ICONOCLASTS introduces some of the new generation of artists whose fertile work resounds with innovation and individuality, depth and promise. Those I have invited as a diverse yet complimentary group represent themselves eloquently and stand for others who also share their vocabularies through meaningful content and imagery, ever-refined tactile exploration and evolving and purposeful forms. These younger artists demonstrate significant, expressive development, individuality and risk taking. While I thought of function, sculpture and installation, I really thought more about identity, passion and creativity.
We thrive on the visual markers as each succeeding generation's achievement. These thirty artists reflect well on the institutions they have attended. The programs clearly encourage diversity and stimulate the discovery of vision and voice, early. Makers leave the comfort zone of school communities and pursue their ideas confidently with sustained commitment. And, ideally, they each continue to evolve, to refine their vision and skills, their insights and aspirations.
Ongoing dialogue is quite stimulating- with apparent urgency, authenticity and focus, aims are continually re/identified and re/explored. These younger artists join the continuum of all those who identify a material palette extraordinarily accommodating to their own passionately held goals. The realizations are intimate, often quirky, audacious and/or elegant, but always layered with the thoughtful and heartfelt. They each demonstrate the human need to communicate: to explore and invent, to share most personal points-of-view and expanded definitions, to shape unexpectedly seductive, often ingenious forms, to work with the tactile potential, joyously. The works celebrate aspirations and hard won skills, quests to accomplish the next, self-defined challenges, each in its own inspired, often visionary, personal language.
The creative journey is a most rewarding one to examine deeply as an artist and as an audience.
The works validate how alive and creatively resplendent contemporary craft continues to be.
NEXT ICONOCLASTS: Promise. Innovation. Individuality.
Gail M. Brown
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