Contemporary artists explore and expand on the qualities of metal

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, June 22, 2024

Contemporary artists explore and expand on the qualities of metal
Charlotte Charbonnel, Train End, 2016; Measuring tool and stainless rods, 11 7/8 x 13 3/8 in.; Courtesy of Backslash; Photo courtesy the artist; © Charlotte Charbonnel.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The National Museum of Women in the Arts is presenting Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018, which highlights contemporary women artists working with a variety of metals and techniques to create artworks such as wall-size installations, exquisite jewelry and reinventions of familiar objects. On view June 28–Sept. 16, 2018, the exhibition features 20 artists and more than 50 works of art made from silver, copper, bronze, pewter, aluminum and more.

Inspired by NMWA’s collection of silverwork crafted by British and Irish women in the 18th and 19th centuries, Heavy Metal seeks to further disrupt the predominantly masculine narrative that surrounds metalworking despite women’s consistent presence in the field for centuries. This narrative is rooted, in part, in the gendered discourse surrounding the traditional distinctions between fine art, design, craft and decorative art. While large-scale bronze and steel sculptures made by men are hailed as “fine” art, subtle and more delicate works in metal, towards which women have been historically encouraged, are often dismissed as craft or “decorative” art.

“The idea that metalworking is too physically demanding for women to do is pervasive in historical as well as contemporary discourse,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “The contemporary artists selected for the 2018 installment of Women to Watch—and NMWA’s own collection of 18th and 19th-century silver by women—contradict this archaic notion.”

Heavy Metal is the fifth installment in NMWA’s dynamic Women to Watch exhibition series, which is presented every two to three years. The series features emerging or underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. Twenty participating committees worked with curators in their respective regions to create shortlists of artists working with metal. From these lists, NMWA curators selected the artists whose work is on view in Heavy Metal.

“Like modern-day alchemists, artists working in metal transform their materials into valuable and unique objects,” said NMWA Associate Curator Virginia Treanor. “Heavy Metal demonstrates that contemporary women artists carry on a vibrant legacy in metalwork.”

From the sleek Minimalist aluminum forms of Rana Begum to the rough-hewn quality of Alejandra Prieto’s iron pyrite sculptures, the featured artists delight in the physical properties of their chosen medium. Some artists revel in the manipulation and fabrication of the material, while others source their medium from existing, often discarded objects. Alice Hope arranges used aluminum can tabs and ball chains to create mesmerizing, large-scale installations. Paula Castillo also uses readily available materials, particularly industrial by-products. She fashions these pieces into sculptures by first modeling the forms using computer software and then welding individual components together. Carolina Sardi and Kelsey Wishik both manipulate steel to create their vastly different forms.

The durability of metal attracts artists who seek to encapsulate memory, either collective or personal. Leila Khoury creates industrial-looking works that serve as indelible monuments to places threatened or destroyed by war in Syria. The wearable art of Kerianne Quick is likewise inspired by the effects of war, particularly the objects carried by those who are forced to flee.

From the macrocosm of the universe to the microcosm of the molecular makeup of metal, the natural world provides fertile ground for inspiration. Blanca Muñoz explores phenomena of space and light through undulating forms, while Serena Porrati experiments with the properties of different metals and ponders the endless cycle of mining, smelting, use and re-use of the material. Charlotte Charbonnel finds beauty in the visualization of magnetic fields using ferrite filings, and Beverly Penn memorializes the transience of nature with botanically inspired forms.

Jewelers represented in Heavy Metal push the boundaries of the category with works ranging from darkly fanciful pieces by Lola Brooks to the oceanic forms of Cheryl Eve Acosta. Petronella Eriksson also finds inspiration in nature, particularly the forests of her native Sweden. Susie Ganch uses her training as a jeweler to create large sculptures that retain the delicacy of ornamentation.

Some artists play with the masculine associations of metalwork to engage with ideas about traditional feminine roles. Holly Laws takes discarded wooden ironing boards and tops them with copper and bronze elements that transform these instruments of drudgery into something altogether more threatening and sinister. Venetia Dale works in pewter to evoke the colonial market for that material, particularly in the Boston area, and to examine the gendered market for household goods. Katherine Vetne also explores this market by using objects such as the crystal pitchers common to wedding registries, which she melts down and coats with silver nitrate. Through her wearable sculptures, Carolina Rieckhof Brommer considers the paradox of home as both haven and prison for women.

Today's News

July 10, 2018

Researchers discover the oldest giant dinosaur species that inhabited the Earth

Major Bomberg exhibition opens at Ben Uri

Artist Felix Pène du Bois dies at age 61

Gladstone Gallery opens a group exhibition anchored by Vito Acconci's 'Voice of America'

Stan Lee drops $1bn lawsuit against company he started

Berry Campbell Gallery opens an exhibition of reprsented artists

The Cleveland Museum of Art opens 'Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors'

Marc Straus expands, upwards

Contemporary artists explore and expand on the qualities of metal

Passing the baton: Chinese conductors seek global fame

Martin Luther handwritten letter penned by the religious reformer to go under the hammer

Sohn Fine Art opens a camera-less photography exhibition

New York's most prestigious design fair returns November for its seventh edition

Son's tribute to his late father £120,000 restoration of their Rover 95 offered at H&H Classics

PAD London announces gallery line up for 2018 edition

Springfield Art Museum adds Little Rock, Arkansas watercolorist to permanent collection

Hazelhurst Arts Centre showcases the work of one of the most influential interior designers in Australia

Bonhams appoints Alexis Cronin Butler as Director of Florida

Colombian peace allows cultural jewels to re-emerge

Latvian mega choir echoes Baltic state's history

Chinese jade boosts Heritage Auctions' Asian Art Auction to nearly $2.2 million

Heritage World & Ancient Coins and World Currency Auctions reach $4.38 million

Festival takes music deep into Istanbul's centuries-old heritage

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful