Masters of the Medium 2011 Nominees:

In 1997, the Alliance created the Masters of the Medium Award in celebration of the Alliance’s fifteenth anniversary and the Renwick Gallery’s twenty-fifth anniversary.  Masters of the Medium are awarded in odd numbered years.  Nominations for the Masters were solicited by from Alliance members earlier this summer. 

A Master is selected in each of the five categories: Ceramics, Fiber/ Baskets, Glass, Metal/ Jewelry, and Wood/ Furniture. 

To assist in the voting process the James Renwick Alliance has put together short biographies of the nominees and provided examples of their work.

Each JRA member may cast a ballot for one person in each of the five categories.  Please return your ballots by September 9, 2010.  The winners will be announced in the fall on the Alliance website.

 

Wood/ Furniture  

Ron Arad

Ron Arad is a furniture designer, architect, and teacher; his expertise is broad and his reputation formidable. Combining playful forms and experiments with advanced technologies, Ron Arad has emerged as one of the most influential designers of our time.

 

Ron Arad Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garry Knox Bennett

Garry Knox Bennett is an internationally known furniture maker, who, in the 1970’s began making clocks which expanded into furniture design. He is most well known for his chairs and use of conventional woods and unusual materials such as plywood, aluminum, steel, and plastics.  Garry's work is represented in many private collections as well many museums including the Renwick Gallery.

Garry Knox Bennett Chair

 

Michelle Holzapfel

 

Michelle Holzapfel applies a high standard of craftsmanship and creative thinking to her turned and carved hardwood pieces that go far beyond the traditional vessel form and are intriguing and intricate sculptures that provoke thought as well as admiration for their life-like detail.

Michelle Holzapfel working

 

William Hunter

William Hunter’s artistic development as wood turner began with utilitarian objects such as bowls, clocks, pipes, hand mirrors and candle sticks and continues with his exquisite decorative forms in a variety of rare and exotic woods.

 

William Hunter Tower

 

Mark Lindquist

 

Mark Lindquist has been an innovator and leader in the field of woodturning/ sculpture since the late 1960s. Mark's thirty-plus years of contributions to contemporary art have altered the direction of woodturning and sculpture worldwide.

Mark Lindquist

 

Kristina Madsen

Kristina Madsen's work reflects the wood carving traditions she studied in Tasmania and Fiji. She has won numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts Craftsman's Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship to study woodcarving in Fiji.

Kristina Madsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philip Moulthrop

In 1992, Philip Moulthrop introduced a new style of wood vessel, his mosaic series.  These vessels were formed by taking cross sections of various branches and blending them with a dark black resin. The vessel would then be sanded down and polished, producing a unique result. These works are considered by many collectors to be his most prominent contribution to the wood turning field.

Philip Mouthrop

 

Jere Osgood

Jere Osgood's elegant but otherworldly furniture pieces have an animated quality that invigorates the simplicity of their design. With legs branching out off to one side, growing like vines or tentacles from underneath a table top or other surface, the pieces are highly functional in concept and stunningly unique in appearance.

Jere Osgood

 

Tommy Simpson

Tommy Simpson is a woodworker, sculptor, furniture maker, painter, and poet acclaimed for his witty and joyous interpretations of Americana-a true original in the art world.  With seasoned insight and humor, and many a pun, Tommy sprinkles autobiographical vignettes, childhood candids, and wry poems amid the sparkling reproductions of his ingenious creations and Klee-like paintings.

Tommy Simpson

 

F.L. Wall

F.L. Wall has been producing furniture and sculpture that incorporate found materials for many years. Over time the collection venues and objects that he collects have changed but he has never lost the fascination with found objects.

F.L. Wall

 
Metal/ Jewelry  

Jamie Bennett

Jamie Bennett explores the artist’s creative use and development of a variety of enameling and metalworking techniques to produce highly color-saturated imagery on signature brooches, necklaces and pendants.  In a career that spans more than 30 years, Jamie has evolved into an internationally acclaimed artist and innovator in the world of contemporary jewelry and enamel. His work challenges the paradigms of traditional jewelry forms and the hierarchies of art. With paint, pencil, and enamel, Jamie achieves uncommonly poetic effects using floral and patterned imagery.

 

Jamie Bennett

 

Garry Knox Bennett

Garry Knox Bennett’s metal plating business resulted in specializing in handmade jewelry. He also makes clocks and lamps. He is the creator of the peace symbol jewelry.

Garry Knox Bennett Necklace

 

Marilyn da Silva

Marilyn da Silva’s work is based on telling stories through imagery and representational elements. Her trademark surface treatment of gesso and colored pencil creates a rich palette for her sculpture and wearable pieces.

Marilyn da Silva

 

Gary Griffin

Gary Griffin received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1974 and was the Academy of Art Metalsmith-in-Residence, leading the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Metalsmithing Department for 22 years. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including two National Endowment of Arts awards in 1976 and 1977. A master blacksmith, he has said his work is, “…generated from sources as diverse as applied engineering, formal aesthetics, material culture study, technological awareness, and the political social, and cultural history of the applied and decorative arts.”

Gary Griffin

 

Tom Joyce

Tom Joyce is a blacksmith who uses contemporary and traditional design elements.  He constructs in iron to express the landscape through classical and contemporary forging techniques and creates architectural blacksmithing pieces such as gates as well as lighting fixtures. He was awarded the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2003 and was an artist in residence at Kohler Arts/Industry Program’s factory in Wisconsin.

Tom Joyca

 

L. Brent Kington

L. Brent Kington is recognized and honored as pioneering the resurgence of blacksmithing as a truly American art form. Brent has received many accolades during his career, including the American Craft Council’s Gold Medal, the Council’s highest award to individual artists.

L. Brent Kington

 

Stanley Lechtzin

Stanley Lechtzin is a jewelry artist who uses the electroforming process, which allows him to create wearable, large scale, lightweight jewelry. This process also allows for the combination of materials that were previously difficult or impossible to achieve, such as plastics. He also creates works using computer-aided design (CAD).

Stanley Lechtzin

 

 

Linda MacNeil

Linda MacNeil's vision is singular, bypassing many influences that appear to dominate twentieth-century studio jewelry.  Color is central to the work, which catches light when the pieces are worn or shown in exhibition. There is a continuous commitment to elegance and decoration as her necklaces become socially involved through her aesthetic language. MacNeil's preferred materials are not inherently precious, but become precious as the rondelles of glass and carved elements are set like elaborate stones in the metal.

Linda MacNeil

 

Bruce Metcalf

Bruce Metcalf’s work examines social, moral, and political issues that he has raised in published essays about the handmade and that are acted out by his rueful bigheaded and vulnerable protagonists on miniature stages. In their dual life as wearable brooches, they venture into the world, where they engage the unsuspecting viewer with their stories and distinctive visual language.

Bruce Metcalf

 

Myra Mimlitsch- Gray

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray manages to create paths that lead from the world of re-cognition of everyday objects and images and tastes, of the mimetic pleasures of re-production, to the very limits of abstract forms. She produces both jewelry and figurative pieces in metal sculpture. Though her work clearly gives credit to function, it would never be confused for functional.

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray

 

Eleanor Moty

Eleanor Moty’s work rejects the extraneous and uses materials sparingly to create shard-like brooches that feature natural stones and crystals.  She says that “each piece evolves from the energy and intrinsic beauty of the stone and intuition.” 

Eleanor Moty

 

Marjorie Schick

Marjorie Schick describes her work as “a sculptural statement which is complete when off the figure yet is constructed and exists because of the human body.”  Her 1980s linear constructions have evolved into more organic forms, much of which are large scale, and could be described as “body sculpture.” 

Marjorie Schick

 

 

Sam Shaw

Sam Shaw’s current work explores the form, texture, color and relationships of natural beachstones.  The stones often are associated with fossils and gemstones to heighten understanding of their common history.  His work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums across the country.

Sam Shaw

 

Helen Shirk

Helen Shirk is known for large, richly-colored copper vessels that draw on the natural world for inspiration and meaning.  She turned to the vessel after earlier work in jewelry and hollowware. 

Helen Shirk

 
Ceramics  

Kathy Butterly

Kathy Butterly's ceramics are colorful, cartoony, and richly ornamented vessels. The artist packs tremendous sculptural and textural complexity, as well as interpretive potential, into these tiny forms. She treats her whimsical objects with irreverence and wit, transforming them into an army of small vessels bursting with anthropomorphic personalities.

kathy Butterly

 

Val Cushing

Val Cushing is a functional potter.  He says of his work, “I aspire to make beautiful pottery – some to be used and some to function visually, as sculpture. ‘Art’ in a pot, besides meeting the usual formal considerations found in most art, has great potential for satisfying the sensual part of our lives. Some of the pottery we make can also stand by itself, to be looked at and admired the way we enjoy painting and sculpture. But, by using pottery for storing, serving and dining, it enters our lives in personal and intimate ways.”

Val Cushing

 

Jack Earl

Ohio artist Jack Earl has had a long and remarkable career, lived for the most part in the region where he was born and raised. His off-beat ceramic narratives are frequently based on his rural Ohio experience and often revolve around a recurrent figure, an archetypical rural character named Bill.

jack earl

 

Chris Gustin

Chris Gustin’s work uses the combination of heavy melted ash deposits on glazed surfaces to highlight often-anthropomorphic forms and to convey movement.  He is a founding member of Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, offering summer and winter residencies to artists from around the world in Edgecombe, Maine

Chris Gustin

 

Sergei Isupov

Sergei Isupov's porcelain sculptures are figurative, surreal, and often autobiographical. Sometimes combining both animal and human aspects, Sergei's sculptures contrast detailed black and white renderings of people and hybrid animals with colorfully glazed sections. He says, “The essence of my work is not in the medium or the creative process, but in the human beings and their incredible diversity.  When I think of myself and my works, I’m not sure I create them, perhaps they create me.”

Sergei Isupov

 

Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko, recognized for his boldly patterned ceramic sculptures that he calls Dangos, is interested in the spirit inherent in created objects, both through their scale as well as the relationship between size and mark making. Jun communicates a vitality in his sculptures that immediately connects with the viewer.  His work represents a hybrid of cultures, the control of the Japanese combined with the freedom of exploration in the West.

Jun kaneko

 

Karen Karnes

Karen Karnes is a seminal figure in ceramic art today. Her work saw an extraordinary growth, from a maker of functional ware to a maker of symbolic vessels that express more sculptural concerns and play with feelings of sensuality and fecundity. Through her involvement with Black Mountain School and her extensive influence in presenting workshops, she has raised the level of salt glaze wares, not just in the United States but abroad as well.

Karen karnes

 

Michael Lucero

During his early period Michael Lucero made composite sculptures using hundreds of thin, hand-made tiles which were attached to wire frames. In these early works, one can see combinations of human/animal, culture/nature, architecture/organism that have remained an element in Michael's subsequent work.  Today, his work challenges the perceived limitations of clay by giving it the primacy of painting or marble sculpture.

Michael Lucero 

 

John Mason

John Mason is a major figure in ceramic sculpture.  He emerged in the mid-1950s as one of the leaders of a revolution that transformed clay from a craft to a fine art medium.   In his latest work, Mason has proved himself a master builder and sculptor who knows how to get the most out of a relatively simple three dimensional form.

John Mason

 

Ken Price

Ken Price is best known for his abstract shapes constructed from fired clay. Typically, they are not glazed, but intricately painted with multiple layers of bright acrylic paint and then sanded down to reveal the colors beneath.

 

 

Adrian Saxe

Adrian Saxe is a ceramic artist working and teaching in Los Angeles for the past 30 years. He works with stoneware, earthenware, and porcelain, creating wildly ornate, often bitingly humorous and complex objects that practically defy description.

Adrian Price

 

Paul Soldner

Paul Soldner has made numerous invaluable contributions to the field of ceramics, including developing what has been come to be known as "American Raku," and a technique known as "low-temperature salt firing". The traditional raku technique, which involves throwing and bisque-firing vessels which are then glazed and placed directly in an open raku kiln to be withdrawn a few minutes later and plunged into water, was adopted, transformed, and manipulated by Soldner as his major medium of expression, and as a result has gained widespread popularity in the ceramic art world.

Paul Soldner

 

Akio Takamori

Akio Takamori's ceramic sculptures evoke an eerie sense of reality and presence. Often drawn from childhood memories of small-village life in Japan, his standing and sleeping figures depict ordinary people going about their day-to-day existence. Another body of Akio's work consists of ceramic vessels, often painted with erotic images.

Akio Takamori

 

Patti Warashina

Patti Warashina’s early influences in art include California Funk, Surrealism, and experimental West Coast ceramic sculpture from the 50's and 60's. Her work is best known for satire, humor, and dream state figures, expressed through low fire polychrome ceramic material.

Patti Warashina

 
Fiber/ Baskets  

B.J. Adams

B. J. Adams’ embroidery artwork began with representation, developed into abstraction, and now goes back and forth between the two, sometimes combining elements of both.  Her works give the viewer a surprise, or an out of context scale, image or viewpoint. The sewing machine has become brush and pencil; hundreds of colors of threads have become paint for realistic and abstract images set on various backgrounds.

B.J. Adams

 

Olga de Amaral

Columbian artist Olga de Amaral sculpts space and form with light. She creates architectural tapestries, realizing her dream to "turn textiles into golden surfaces of light." By using woven elements of linen painted with gesso and earth toned pigments, as well as gold or silver leaf, she overlaps, weaves and twists strands of these fibers to bring forth the interplay of darkness and light.  She has been represented in the United States by Bellas Artes Gallery in Santa Fe for 24 years.

Olga de Amaral

 

 

Dorothy Gill Barnes

Dorothy Gill Barnes is a sculptor who works in wood. Using wood, bark, branches and roots, she weaves sculptural vessels, often basketlike, that incorporate the unique characteristics in the wood.  Her intent is to construct a vessel or related object using materials respectfully harvested from nature. The unique properties she finds in bark, branches, roots, seaweed and stone suggest a work process. Some of these structures are basket like.

Dorothy Gill Barnes

 

Nancy Crow

The purpose of Nancy Crow’s quilts is to make something beautiful but at the same time they are a means of expression, representing the deepest feelings and life experiences. Her quilts are all about how she sees color and color relationships; shapes; and line and linear movements. They are also about complexity, sadness, and hope.

nancy Crow

 

Dominic Di Mare

Dominic Di Mare is a self-taught studio weaver best known for his sculptures made from a variety of materials.  His work has been described as haunting, enigmatic sculptures resembling Native American totems or fetishes.  They balance the personal with the universal.

Dominic Di Mare

 

Michael James

Michael James trained as a painter, and subsequently studied quilting history and techniques.  He has become known for his geometric and minimalist approach to quilt making.  His quilts often resemble color-field paintings.  He uses commercial cottons and silks to construct his quilts, blending the printed patterns into his designs.

Michael james

 

Jon Eric Riis

Jon Eric Riis demonstrates exceptional skills in tapestry weaving and other textile techniques.  He frequently embellishes the surface with precious materials, for example, thousands of hand-sewn freshwater pearls.  He says, "I attempt to push the tapestry genre, as I investigate issues of identity, life and the human condition."

Jon Eric Riis

 

Warren Seelig

Warren Seelig is famous for his heroically scaled, highly geometric sculptures. Within an architectural metal armature, he uses fabric under tension or found objects to create works that recall early mathematical and scientific renderings.

Warren Seelig

 

Barbara Lee Smith

Barbara Lee Smith has brought surface design and machine embroidery to a new artistic level by fusing layer upon layer of synthetic fabric and using the stitch as a drawing tool. Her surfaces are rich with color, metallic threads and fabrics, stitched drawings, prints and various textures. The organic shapes and elusive colors build to become a complex and intriguing environment that can be contemplated at great length. Her love of color and luminous materials is evident in all of her work.

Barbara Lee Smith

 
Glass  

Paul Marioni

Paul Marioni is a glass artist, who has pushed the techniques of working with glass to the limit. He explores themes centered on human nature – what we do and why we do it; human identity; heroes and historical moments; multi-cultural issues and spiritualism without religion.

Paul Mariono

 

Joel Philip Myers

Joel Philip Myers developed the technique of “painting” with glass on glass which created an entirely new method of working with blown glass.  His work explores vibrant color, as well as lack of color, in painterly, blown vessels which acquire depth and density through the layering of pieces of glass (or shards) onto the surface during the blowing process.

Joel Philip Myers

 

Judith Schaechter

Judith Schaechter is known for her work in the medium of stained glass. Her pieces often exhibit elements of parable, and her distorted faces and figures, along with her own self-professed atheism ironically clash with her medium's religious tradition.

Judith Schaechter

 

Paul Stankard

Paul Stankard is interested in integrating mysticism with botanical realism giving the glass organic credibility.  Through his work, he references the continuum of nature, by portraying and exploring the mysteries of seeds, fertility and decay.  The work celebrates the primal beauty of nature on an intimate level, influenced by the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Paul Stankard

 

Lino Tagliapietra

Lino Tagliapietra, born in Italy, began working in a glass factory at age eleven and achieved the rank of maestro by age twenty-one.  In 1979, he was invited to teach at the Pilchuck Glass School, founded by Dale Chihuly.  For the past three decades, he has shared his experience and knowledge of traditional Venetian glassblowing techniques with glass artists around the world.  In the mid-eighties he made the transition from the traditional Venetian master glassblower and glass designer to that of independent studio artist.  He was honored with the JRA Distinguished Educator Award in 2006.

Lino Tagliapietra

 

Jack Wax

 

Jack Wax is an artist who uses glass for all its poetic qualities.  His exemplary technical mastery is never used to demonstrate pure skill but rather to question, probe and challenge what glass can be.  It is this refreshing approach that makes Jack a unique contributor to the field. 

Jack wax

 

Mary Ann "Toots" Zynsky

 

Mary Ann “Toots” Zynsky builds amorphous, glass vessels that defy categorization, her objects inhabiting a region where painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts meet. Zynsky was involved in the early days of the American studio glass movement when she was a student of Dale Chihuly's at the Rhode Island School of Design and at Pilchuck Glass School.

Toots Zynsky

 

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