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January 6, 2004 > Contemporary Craft at Olive Hyde

Contemporary Craft at Olive Hyde

Three Bay Area artists and another from Seattle bring their "Contemporary Craft" in ceramics and textiles to Olive Hyde through January 31st.

Seattle based Barbara Barnes Allen creates sculptures that integrate architectural references, symbolism and found objects as "markers" of her extensive travels.

"My interests and art have made many transitions over the years, but there has always been an emphasis on structure and an obvious influence from my travels. Over the past few years, dated archaeological structures played a greater part in my themes, culminating with the creation of a body of work featuring building and shrine facades as a departure point for the art. The intention was not to draw a correlation between specific structures, but to allow the mysteries of architecture and site to serve as a foundation for aesthetic content. Three-dimensional architectural pieces gave way to more two-dimensional presentations incorporating more emphasis on collage. Additionally, for some time now, I have pursued a parallel interest in art books, which in many ways incorporate these same themes. Often in my travels I find small things to incorporate into my work such as coins, jewelry, trinkets, and collage materials. The extensive use of various paints and metallic leaf serve to enhance the architectural departure point from which symbolic, mystical and whimsical themes emanate. The final product is hopefully a stimulating fusion of imagery and persona experience."

Carolyn Foote, a Livermore artist, works in ceramics to mimic structures and patterns found in nature.

"Structures and textures seen in nature have always influenced my work. Forms used by primitive cultures have been another strong inspiration. An extended visit to Japan triggered a continuous effort to simplify form to its essence.

In any series, there is a natural flow from the original concept to its extensions. One idea leads to another, building on what has gone before, but adding new elements.

I frequently create pieces that naturally seem to relate as a dissimilar pair - perhaps large/small, left/right leaning, etc. I enjoy grouping pieces to see how the forms interrelate with each other as well as with their surrounding space."

Textile artist, Robin Crowley of Oakland has developed various stitching techniques using bright and bold patterns.

"There's a tactile sensation centered around the "hand" of cloth that gives me great joy. The feel is as important as the color and pattern. These all contribute to the artistic expression in each individual textile construction I make. As I work with the fabric and a new piece comes to life, I'm aware of design needs that will be satisfied by the addition of thread lines. I use these lines as brush strokes or sketch lines that add to the complexity of the overall piece. I produce most of my own hand dyed fabric, and that process itself inspires new ideas. I find that I work intuitively and draw inspiration from the world around me and beyond. Source materials include architecture -- particularly avant garde Japanese architecture, views of earth and the skies from afar, and the many colors and textures in nature. My work combines the best of both worlds, using color and space in an abstract manner to engage viewers with humor and lightness. All my works have a strong graphic presence from a distance, as well as offering the viewer a reward upon closer inspection when the detail and techniques involved can be better appreciated. My textiles are generally pieced, appliqued, fused, with hand-painted and hand-dyed elements and surface textured with stitching."

Jane Grimm of San Francisco uses low fire ceramics as her primary media, often mounted in wood boxes or on wood panels.

My work is meant to stir the intellect. I feel it is an artist's responsibility to say something through their art. With my current work, I am interested in influencing the viewers' preconception of what ceramic sculptures are so that they understand that clay is not necessarily synonymous with function or kitsch.

With my current theme, I am exploring the effects of transformation on forms and objects. This evolved from my observations about people. Many things happen to us in the course of time that dramatically change who we are, how we perceive things and yet to the causal observer, we appear the same. I translated this curious observation into the study of the evolution of forms and objects over time. The first result of this study was the Evolution Series. I started out with a long, horizontal box format, reminiscent of display cases in museums. It hen began to investigate how the presentation format would affect the objects I was creating. I segment the boxes, squared the boxes, removed the tops of the boxes, and separate the boxes. The resultant body of work includes the Vortex, Compression and Cosmic Conversion Series.

My work is hand built, primarily using low fire clay and glazes. Form and color are important elements in my work. The subtlety of color-change in the work is primarily the result of adding clear glaze on top of the underglaze, thus intensifying the color in that area. The boxes are an integral part of the sculptures. They are use not only to highlight the stages in a transformation but also to give importance to the sculpture. The seductive qualities of the ceramic medium of color and surface are used to attract the attention of the viewers so that they will spend time looking at the work and embarking on their individual journey of discovery.

An opening reception, sponsored by the Olive Hyde Art Guild, will be held on Friday, January 9, 2004 from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. All are welcome.

Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont
Open Thursday - Sunday
Noon - 5 p.m.
(510) 494-4228

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