Heather Bradley’s Innominate Series

After injuring her neck in an accident, Heather Bradley decided to reflect on rupture and healing in a new installation of ceramic sculptures titled innominate. We visited the artist’s Santa Fe studio to discuss her art and massage practices, both of which have helped her to recover—and create. Read the full interview below, and come see Bradley’s monumental innominate installation on a 30-foot stretch of wall at form & concept.

Heather Bradley Ceramics- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Spinal #3, stoneware, 12.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 in.

What does the title of your new series, innominate, mean? 

The series is innominate, which is a Latin word that means “unnamed.” It’s what they were calling the pelvic bone for a while, because it’s so mysterious. It was also what my massage school class chose to name itself.

It’s a special word for me in that it encompasses a lot of mystery and the unknown. I was having a really hard time titling the piece because it was such a wide range of subjects for me. I like the title innominate because it feels like it didn’t classify it too much.

You’re weaving together several personal stories in this series. Tell us about the different threads. 

One thing that always goes into my work is whatever my heart is going through, what’s really happening in my personal life. Personal stories always go into it, but I try to encrypt that somewhat. I want there to be a sense when you look at the work that this person has put her heart and soul into the work in some kind of intimate way, but I don’t want it to be totally revealing.

I made this work while I was in massage school, but also I was nursing a whiplash injury. It’s about healing and really feeling my body and my bones and my skin and my muscles. I was learning the insides of bodies and feeling that connection between my own experience of giving massage and healing from my whiplash injury.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Arterial #12, stoneware, 4 x 4 x 4 in.

What drew you to massage school? 

I decided to go to massage school because I’ve always loved to work with my hands. I’ve also wanted other people to feel comfortable in their own skin. I wanted to be of service to people. It was a six-month program. A month in, I had a pretty serious car accident. I got rear ended and I found myself with whiplash, and in desperate need of massage. So during massage school I really felt how important it is for someone to heal.

When I first had my car accident I was told by my chiropractor and the neurologist that I really needed to stop clay work. I started seeing a chiropractor three times a week and massage therapist once or twice a week. The car accident changed the curve of my sine. I felt like I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about my spine or the vertabrae and how everything fits together.

How did the experience of injuring yourself and healing manifest in the innominate series?

I feel like the necks of my pots have always been pretty prominent. It’s kind of a signature thing. When I started working on the necks this time, there was a special sensitivity in my fingers that I didn’t have before.

The necks of the pots started reminding me of my own neck, and how when you’re working on someone’s neck you can really feel the individual vertebra. It’s really important for the therapist to have that sensitivity in their fingers because the neck is so delicate. It just felt so similar to me, to create the vertebral column in the clay after my own vertebral column had been adjusted.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Handheld II, ceramic.

What are some other similarities that you’ve discovered between your art practice and massage?

In school we took a class called The Healing Power of Touch. It wasn’t so much about special techniques with your fingers. It was about the importance of going into a massage with the right mindset and intention for that person and yourself. You have to go in with clean energy. 

I related that right away to the way I make art. I’ve always thought that whatever I’m feeling when I go into the studio comes out into the clay. The clay feels that and the clay sees that.

What about the actual technique of shaping clay versus moving the body?

When you first learn to close a vessel when you’re doing in pottery, you learn that your inside finger is important in relation to what your outside finger is doing. Finger coordination in massage felt really similar in that way.

The main thing is the actual physical sensation of the wet clay on your hands and the way it responds to your fingers. That’s really similar when you’re working on a body. It’ll first feel like there’s no response, and then eventually your fingers start to feel the details.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Spinal #7, porcelain, 13 x 6.5 x 6.5 in.

Describe the compositional decisions that went into creating the innominate installation.

One thing that was really important to me from the beginning was the color red. There had to be red pieces that felt like blood. I wanted it to be like a vein through the installation. So I started with the red.

And then there’s the white porcelain pots that I made. All of them have necks that are like spines, with black lines on them. Music has always been a big influence on my work, so I wanted to put the white pots on the wall in a way that mimics sheet music.

How did you decide to put text directly on the wall?

Once I put the pots together it felt like there was some element missing. I’ve always been a writer. When I went to India I spent 6 months writing a book. I write, write, write.

One of the elements of the show is journal pieces that I made out of porcelain slabs. I shook them out and made them thin so they’d kind of echo paper. And then I literally wrote my journal entries on them. They’re personal about my relationship or dramas that went on at the time. But I though they worked with the show. The writing element just tied it all together. I think of the journal pages and the writing on the wall as just one piece. The verbal part of the show.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Arterial #6, stoneware, 4 x 4 x 4 in.

So, despite being told not to massage or work with clay, they’re the things that helped you heal? 

Yeah, I think so. When I first got into the studio, I had so much pain and numbness in my neck and shoulders. My ego got crazy and I thought, I’m gonna make the biggest pieces I’ve ever made. And I tried to muscle through making these gigantic pieces, but they had no grace. They just went back into the slop pile. When I started to slow down and think about what would be an honest thing for me to make in this situation, they got smaller and more intimate.

Click here to view all of Heather Bradley’s work in the form & concept collection.

Heather Bradley- innominate ceramics installation- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Introducing Lisa Klakulak

Lisa Klakulak Artist Portrait- American Craft Magazine- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak. Photo by Michael Mauney for American Craft Magazine.

Lisa Klakulak first exhibited at form & concept this winter in Shifting Landscapes, our juried show with Surface Design Association. She’s a longtime member of the organization, and her work was a perfect fit for the place-themed show. Klakulak has traveled the world studying the textiles of diverse cultures, from Appalachia to India, West Africa and Spain. On her far-flung travels, she also takes in the flora, fauna and geography that surrounds her in search of inspiration. Her contribution to Shifting Landscapes captured the dynamism of glacial formations in a series of vivid blue necklaces:

Lisa Klakulak- Felt Necklaces- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Now Klakulak is one of our newest represented artists, and she draws inspiration from lava flows in a fresh series of wearable artworks. We’ve been eagerly learning about her travels and their impact on her work. It came as no surprise that she was featured in American Craft Magazine, in a lovely profile about her inclination for globe-trotting:

Travel is a crucial artistic resource for Klakulak. And yet art is not what compels her to leave home. “The places I’ve chosen to go are dramatically different from the world I live in. Travel turns my world upside down and challenges me,” she says. “My artwork is how I process these visual and emotional experiences. I wouldn’t say that I travel to make art; I make art because I travel.”

Klakulak has been artistic since she was very young, growing up in the suburbs of Detroit. Her interest in culturally diverse travel emerged in her teens. On one trip to the Caribbean with her father, she recalls being more intrigued by the people working at the resort than by the other guests. Then there was the eye-opening class trip to Nicaragua during her college years at Colorado State University, where she earned a degree in fiber arts in 1997. But it was two years after graduation, on a six-month spiritual and artistic quest with a boyfriend through India, Nepal, and Thailand, that she began to meld art and travel.

“It was the most monumental trip of my life,” she says. Forgoing the beaten path in favor of rural villages rife with textile traditions – once traveling a week by camel – she was taken by the “magnificence of work made with the simplest of materials. The poverty of materials and resources but the richness of the forms was totally inspiring,” she recalls. She gravitated to the highly ornamented Rajasthani embroidery of northwestern India and natural dye processes, as well as patterns in the landscape, and returned to the United States eager to expand her knowledge of fiber arts.

From there, Klakulak worked as a teaching assistant at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where she took up the medium of felt in 2000. She went on to complete a two-year residency at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee. She taught felting and other textile techniques to public schoolchildren through the center’s outreach program, an experience that kickstarted her ongoing teaching work and advocacy for fiber art as an important component of the visual art curriculum. Now residing in a cabin in Asheville, North Carolina, she continues to create wearable textiles, accessories and non-functional sculpture. She also teaches workshops around the world, of course. “For me, the medium is life,” she told American Craft. “That’s the art; it’s what you do with your life.”

Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Tuff Ring Necklace, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton rope , cotton thread, found stones at Kalbarri Nat Park Western Australia, nylon netting wet felted, free-motion machine stitched, $900.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Intertwined Hoop Earrings, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton thread, found beach glass, sterling silver hoops, needle and wet felting, free-motion machine embroidered, $460.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Bracelet with 3D Tabs, merino wool fiber, cotton thread, waxed linen thread, stainless steel armature, leather, wet felting, naturally dyed with cochineal and osage, free-motion machine embroidered, hand stitched, $260.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Circuitous Path Choker, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton thread, found beach glass, wet felted, free-motion machine stitched, $1200.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Trampoline Earrings, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton thread, found beach glass, sterling silver hoops, needle and wet feling, naturally dyed with madder, free-motion machine embroidered, $430.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Wool Bracelet, merino wool fiber, cotton thread, waxed linen thread, stainless steel armature, leather, wet felting, free-motion machine embroidered, hand stitched, $240.

Click here to browse all of Klakulak’s work on the form & concept website, and make sure to read the rest of Melissa Reardon’s profile of the artist in American Craft.

Summer Artist Talk: Armond Lara

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Painter and sculptor Armond Lara continues form & concept’s Summer Artist Talks series, and reveals plans for a monumental sculpture project he will complete in collaboration with numerous artists over the coming year. The talk takes place during form & concept’s One-Year Anniversary Exhibition, featuring new artwork from all of the gallery’s represented artists.

Biography

Armond Lara was born in 1939 in Denver, Colorado and raised in Walsenburg, a coal mining town in southeastern Colorado. His mother was of Navajo descent and his father was Mexican. He was educated at the Colorado Institute of Art and Glendale College in California and also attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he was influenced by Japanese master paper artist, Paul Horuechi. He also worked with Mexican muralist Pablo O’Higgins, Richard Diebenkorn and Helen Frankenthaler.

Lara’s paintings and drawings often incorporate handmade paper, found objects and mixed media including traditional Navajo beadwork that has been sewn on to the canvas. His carved marionettes of historical cultural figures such as Crazy Horse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Man Ray and Billy the Kid, among others, are created in the spirit of the Koshare, the sacred clown that participates in the religious dances of the Rio Grande Pueblo People. Known as a mischief maker, the Koshare clown helps maintain harmony in the community by reminding people of acceptable standards of behavior. Through this vehicle, Lara is able to portray the humor, tragedy, frustration and beauty of what it means to be human.

After years of working in the aerospace industry in Seattle and then in arts administration, Lara helped to establish the 1% for the ARTS Program in Seattle, Washington in 1973, which was one of the first cities in the US to adopt funding for public art. When Lara relocated to Santa Fe in the 1980s, he participated in his first Indian Market where Georgia O’Keeffe purchased two of his works, one of which was gifted to the Smithsonian. In 1996 Lara founded the Santa Fe Artist Emergency Medical Fund which has been one of the many factors contributing to his reputation as a leader in the arts not only for Native Peoples but for all artists. Armond Lara is in museum collections worldwide.

Click here to browse Armond’s artwork.

Summer Artist Talks Schedule

In its first year, form & concept has emphasized powerful and diverse storytelling through its exhibition schedule and programs. The gallery’s roster of represented artists has been steadily growing, making for a dynamic One-Year Anniversary Exhibition (May 26-October 22, 2017). The majority of form & concept’s represented artists will speak, along with several guest artists.

Matthew Mullins & Wesley Anderegg | 5/27/17, 2-3 pm
Heidi Brandow | 6/3/17, 2-3 pm
Heather Bradley | 6/10/17, 2-3 pm
NoiseFold | 6/17/17, 2-3 pm*
Rebecca Rutstein | 7/1/17, 2-3 pm
Elana Schwartz | 7/8/17, 2-3 pm
Debra Baxter | 7/15/17, 2-3 pm
Jared Weiss | 7/22/17, 2-3 pm*
Robert Ebendorf | 8/12/17, 2-4 pm
Armond Lara | 8/20/17, 2-3 pm
Broken Boxes Artists & Curators Panel Discussion | 8/20/17, 3-4 pm*


*Guest artists. All other participants are form & concept represented artists.

In Process Jewelry Demonstration: Robert Ebendorf

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“It’s about not being afraid to put diamonds and pearls with broken glass and bone,” says Robert Ebendorf. The master jeweler’s mixed-media philosophy comes from nearly six decades of working with found objects. When you’re a self-proclaimed “gleaner,” life is an endless treasure hunt. Ebendorf’s innovative work has landed in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. As form & concept’s newest represented artist, Ebendorf will appear in the gallery for an In Process Jewelry Demonstration on Saturday, August 12 from 2-4 pm.

Since his childhood in Kansas, Ebendorf (b. 1938) has been an avid collector of peculiar objects. “I would glean the alleys with my little wagon, going from one trash box to the next,” he says. “I’d bring all of the treasures I found back to the garage, and arrange them on a little shelf that my dad let me claim.” Later, when he was pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at University of Kansas, he started incorporating peculiar odds and ends into his work.

The practice appealed to his sense of compassion for abandoned objects, a feeling that he ties to humanity’s innate awareness of mortality. “When I see broken things at the flea market, they look wounded. They’re going to end up in a landfill,” Ebendorf says. “I enjoy picking up those lost souls and bringing them into a new context.” He completed his BFA in 1960, and earned an MFA at University of Kansas in 1963. After that, he traveled to Oslo, Norway to study at the State School of Applied Arts and Crafts as a Fulbright Scholar.

From there, he showed in numerous exhibitions, won prestigious awards and taught art at various institutions for 57 years. He hit a career high in 2003, when he debuted a solo exhibition of 96 works at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Ebendorf’s work is represented in 29 museums worldwide. He was one of the founding members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths in 1970, and was awarded the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Now living in Santa Fe, Ebendorf remains a creative pioneer at the jagged intersection of art, craft and design. The wearable sculptures that appear in the form & concept shop feature countless materials, from a rusty spoon that the artist discovered on the Alaskan shore to a possum jawbone that he picked up on one of his long walks. Each object is elegantly incorporated into the larger piece, allowing the viewer to see it with fresh eyes. “I’m very radical in the way I work,” says Ebendorf. “Color is important, and composition. I put the ideas together and make a decision on what technical skills I need to employ that will bring the ideas to fruition.”

At the jewelry design demonstration, Ebendorf will reveal a wide variety of techniques he uses in his work. “The tools and techniques I use have been passed down to me from a family of makers that stretches back to the 16th century,” he says.

Learn more about form & concept’s artist talks.

 

Artist Spotlight: Heather Bradley

Heather Bradley Ceramics- Innominate Series- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Heather Bradley‘s new art installation, innominate, is a centerpiece of our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition. Heather perched red and white pottery on small shelves that span a 30-foot stretch of wall. Between the vessels are sheets of porcelain with diary entries scrawled on them, and words painted directly on the wall in elegant cursive.

The words hint at innominate‘s deeply personal story arc: “body,” “wound,” “heal” and “scar” are among them. The pottery is titled after the human body as well, with three distinct series dubbed Arterial, Spinal and Handheld. Heather was inspired to write a new artist statement after completing the series. Read her words below, and keep your eye out for a forthcoming video and blog post that explores the story behind innominate. 

My hands have been in clay now for 22 years. They’ve grown more and more adept at predicting the behavior of the clay and manipulating it into the forms I want. Now, my hands are also essential to my job.  I recently received my license as a massage therapist, and this new endeavor has been making me think of my ceramic work in a whole new light.

I think of my pots as frozen moments in time, almost literally. The clay goes from a sloppy wet, flowing substance to a dry, solid, more permanent object so quickly. Whatever I bring to the potter’s wheel on any given day is materialized into the work.

Heather Bradley Ceramics- Spinal Series- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

The way in which I approach a massage table is very similar to the way in which I approach my potter’s wheel. I must be very conscious of my own mental state, my thoughts, and my own body when giving a massage. I must watch my breath, be super-attentive to the placement of my fingers, and the angle of my neck when giving massage. 

My experience as a massage therapist has begun informing my art work in various ways. I find myself thinking of the necks of pots as vertebral columns, wedging the clay using the body mechanics I was taught in deep tissue class, and using my palpation skills to find air bubbles and imperfections. 

Heather Bradley Ceramics- Arterial Series- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Most significantly, being a massage therapist has taught me more about proprioception – the awareness of one’s own body, one’s own sense of how they occupy space. I’m now approaching my clay with a greater sense of self, my body, and in particular, my hands, and what they can feel.  

I believe the more and more I can truly be present and embodied, the more the work will flow honestly through me and carry a sense of the moment in which it was created.

Heather Bradley Ceramics- Handheld Series- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Click here to browse all of Heather’s work on our website, and make sure to come see her innominate installation. It’s on view through October 22, as part of our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition. Stay tuned for a studio visit video and blog, where Heather will reveal her inspiration for the innominate series.

Last Look: NoiseFold | Metamorph

Artists Cory Metcalf and David Stout, who collaborate under the moniker NoiseFold, are best-known for their new media performance art pieces. They bring sound waves and abstract imagery into rhythm across digital landscapes, utilizing generative software to act as the virtual conductors of a cross-sensory symphony. If you’re scratching your head, browse David’s Vimeo for a bit and prepare to be amazed.

Because NoiseFold’s oeuvre exists primarily on the digital plane, they were puzzled at first by a special invitation from Seattle’s legendary Pilchuck Glass School. Glass master Dale Chihuly and his army of artists wanted Cory and David to collaborate with them in a two-week artist residency. In the interview and video below, NoiseFold talks about finding a way to translate digital marvels into physical sculptures. Three bodies of work they created there, MetamorphSwarm Caste and Vestiges, are on view at form & concept through Saturday, July 22.

How did you first strike up your collaboration as NoiseFold? 

David: I was awarded a fellowship at Harvest Works in New York City to develop a piece that was an artificial ecosystem of sorts. We were working with live, 3D generation of forms. That is really where the NoiseFold collaboration was born. Once we realized that this method of working with generative images in real time had amazing possibilities for a performance system. We launched Noisefold immediately coming out of that installation.

How did you come up with the name NoiseFold?

David: The name was kind of effortless. There was a certain literalness to the idea that we were working with signal and noise. We were also working with visual forms that we could fold in virtual space, almost like origami. So there was that literal aspect. Also, I like the word fold because a group can be referred to as a fold.

We were interested in the term noise as a kind of field of possibilities. We often think of noise as a disruption but, in fact, noise is infused in everything we do. Our heartbeats create noise.

Cory: We were also looking at what one person considers music and what one person considers noise. There’s always a grey area where something ceases to be musical, and becomes “sound” or “noise.” We wanted to play with that edge where you have discernible form — something that’s really familiar — and where it starts to fall apart and it stops making sense to the ears. 

The same thing happens with the visual vocabulary of NoiseFold. The moment that you attach that significance to a certain form, where it starts to represent something in the real world, often it drifts into a “noisier” place again. 

NoiseFold- Cory Metcalf and David Stout- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
NoiseFold, Vestige VIII, blown glass, 8.5 x 16 x 9 in.

Viewers have often reported moments of sensory overload after watching your performances. Could you talk about that? 

Cory:  There’s a very intense experience often, particularly in our earlier work, of having these things feel like they’re speaking to you or coming at you. It’s very hard to trivialize the forms that you’re seeing, because they seem to be very viscerally active and alive. That, coupled with the forms being almost familiar and yet not quite, many people have reported to us that it can be exhausting to watch our work. This includes fans who come to most of our shows. Your brain is constantly struggling to make sense of what you’re seeing. It’s almost something, but you can’t quite pinpoint what it is.

We’ve had people say things like, for the first 20 minutes they were just trying to understand what they were seeing. And then they had almost a total shutdown of that part of their brain, that kind of language center that’s trying to make sense of things. I think for a lot of people, if it doesn’t shut down, it’s just exhausting. Because you’re just constantly struggling to keep up with what you’re experiencing.

Do you ever experience that as you’re creating the work? 

David: Only because we will do this for 10 to 20 hours a day, and then we feel it. Most of the time, I just get lost in the visual wonder of it all. So it doesn’t really exhaust me. We’ve been playing with this thing lately, where we’re creating an image space that alludes to some phenomenon in the real world, whether it’s biomorphic or architectural, macrocosmic or microcosmic. You recognize that you think you recognize it, and then it suddenly, fleetingly becomes something else. We’re constantly asking the audience to fill in the missing space between abstraction and representation.

As the work has evolved, we’ve diversified easily into doing a lot of different kinds of things. Sometimes it’s more musical, sometimes it’s more cinematic. We’ve also gotten into a lot more quiet spaces. We’re willing to explore more empty moments. It’s not quite the same kind of space as when we first began.

NoiseFold- Cory Metcalf and David Stout- Form & Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
NoiseFold, Vestige III, blown glass, 6 x 12 x 6.5 in.

When you’re working with generative forms, is it difficult to relinquish control over how the imagery is going to appear? 

Cory: Early on in the system we would purposefully build in autonomy of the system. We’d give the system a little bit of a mind of its own. Whatever we performed we’re having to make decisions that change, and we never have complete control over the system. That was always by design. I think that’s one of the things that excites us more than it holds us back or frustrates us.

We’ve spent an enormous amount of time just kind of reigning our system in. A lot of times we start out by developing a technique, and that technique in and of itself might be extremely chaotic. But we always have a large number of parameters that we can fine-tune and explore. We seek out these sweet spots and kind of unfold vast areas of fruitful materials. From here, our approach is often to make sure we don’t confine it too much.

Did you find connections between your performance art and the work you were doing at Pilchuck Glass School? 

David: There’s an exciting challenge to that virtual, cinematic space, where some aspect of what you’re doing is sort of ephemeral. It’s never repeated in exactly the same way. It can be more liberating than when we’re making objects, like the work we were doing at Pilchuck. When you’re making sculptures, it feels like there’s more pressure to be perfect in that realm than there is in the performative realm. On the other hand, one thing we discovered at the residency is that glass making is performance. 

Cory: It has a lot of the same time constraints that real-time performance has. You can’t infinitely work the material. There’s many parts of the process where you can’t even slow down, and if you do it completely changes the potential for the rest of the process. So it has the same level of immediacy. And it has, in its own way, the same level of imperfection.

NoiseFold- Cory Metcalf and David Stout- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
NoiseFold, Vestige V, blown glass, 7 x 14 x 8 in.

How did you end up at Pilchuck? 

David: We were part of an exhibit at the Cornish College of the Arts, at the end of 2014. The director of the Pilchuck Glass School saw what we were doing and invited us to the residency program shortly thereafter. It wasn’t something that we would’ve thought of on our own. It was an intriguing idea.

Pilchuck is considered among the very top glass schools in the world. It was founded by Dale Chihuly. It has a long tradition. The students that go there are often very accomplished professionals. And the current director is very interested in digital media artists and conceptual artists.  

Did you plan what you were going to do during the residency? 

Cory:  We went there thinking very digitally. We were going to take a number of our forms and do some 3D printing of molds to create cast glass forms.

David: When we got there, we were told that we had eight solid days with two of Dale Chihuly’s glass blowers. So we changed gears instantly, because that was really exciting. We used the software that we’d developed to generate novel forms, and then chose various forms. In the case of the piece that we’re showing there, the Metamorph series, that is actually a transformation between one shape and another. We set out to recreate different parts of the transformation in glass.

The glass artists had never done anything like this before and it turned out to be very effective. When Chihuly is making work, he essentially sits at a table and draws something in charcoal, and shows it to the gaffers, as they’re called, and they blow it. We were doing something very similar except we were showing them a 3D model that they could rotate in space, and look at two different views simultaneously. We could get very technical about how we were realizing the forms.

Cory: Each piece in Metamorph can stand on its own, but really it’s a series of 8 pieces that make a transition from the sphere into this other double cone form. It’s really intended to be viewed so you can actually see the transition from one state to the next. And so the 8 pieces together make up the whole of this time based process that you see in this transformation.

NoiseFold- Cory Metcalf and David Stout- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
NoiseFold, Vestige IV, blown glass, 7.5 x 16 x 6.5 in.

You’re accustomed to collaborating with each other. How did you feel about the process of bringing in these glass artists as collaborators?

Cory: It was one of the best collaborations that I think both of us have ever experienced. It was very interesting to see how collaboration works in a hot shop, a glass space, because it’s this incredible level of non-verbal communication. It’s almost like watching people dance with—

David: Flaming hot substances.

Cory: It was very interesting to see the degree to which it was both very challenging and very possible to realize the forms that we presented to these guys.

form & concept explores the boundaries of perceived distinctions between art, craft and design. How do you connect with that mission? 

David: I would say it really resonates with us after our experience at Pilchuck. It was eye-opening to be there among these craftspeople who are involved in the contemporary art world, but also the production glass world or design world. The distinctions between those worlds start to break down a little bit, and the common meeting place is the joy of the craft. 

I think that’s a boundary that’s going to fall. These things kind of ebb and flow. It goes along with this old media versus new media question. People want something tangible along with their virtual experience.

Cory: The opportunity for new media artists, traditional artists and production environments to merge together is just so obvious. Creating artificial boundaries between those worlds is not the right thing to do at this juncture. I think it’s an important moment to start breaking those boundaries in the art world as much as possible.

David: We did similar things working with musicians, because we’ve done a number of projects where we’re working with more traditionally trained, classical musicians, even though the music itself was more experimental. The glass work fits completely within that same kind of paradigm.

Artist Spotlight: Debra Baxter

Debra Baxter will speak at form & concept on Saturday, July 15 from 2-3 pm as part of our Summer Artist Talks series. The sculptor and jeweler is featured in the current issue of Santa Fean Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from the article by Stephanie Love:

The brash and beautiful bronze and crystal works that Santa Fe artist Debra Baxter designs embrace the harmony between function and appearance. Baxter’s customized metalwork elevates the natural roughness of her materials—anything from minerals to crystals to metals—in order to create a refined, wearable masterpiece.

Having gained recognition for her sterling silver and quartz crystal brass knuckles, a part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection since 2015, Baxter has built upon an already successful career since moving to the City Different. The Nebraska-born artist finds great inspiration from living in her current home. “The beautiful light and sky have heightened my appreciation for natural materials,” she notes. “There is a magical, peaceful energy here that grounds me.” Baxter, like many other artists that reside in Santa Fe, also finds that “the overall mindset of the community is conducive to making.”

Click here to read the full article, and scroll down to browse Debra’s sculptures and jewelry.

Debra Baxter Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
DB/CB by Debra Baxter, Crystal Quartz in Bronze Necklace, bronze, crystal quartz, $245
Debra Baxter Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
DB/CB by Debra Baxter, Titanium Quartz in Sterling Silver Necklace, titanium quartz, sterling silver, $425
Debra Baxter Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
DB/CB by Debra Baxter, Amethyst Bronze Necklace, amethyst, bronze, $275
Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, Breastplate (Voice in my Chest), bronze, amethyst crystal, 18 x 12.5 x 3 in., $6000
Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, Unapologetic Glory, bronze, alabaster, 20 x 8 x 6 in., $3500
Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, Here I Go Again (not on my own), aluminum, alabaster, 18 x 10 x 10 in., $1700

Summer Artist Talk: Elana Schwartz

Sculptor Elana Schwartz continues form & concept’s Summer Artist Talks series. She will speak about her artwork on Saturday, July 8, 2-3 pm. The talk takes place during form & concept’s One-Year Anniversary Exhibition, featuring new artwork from all of the gallery’s represented artists.

Biography

Elana Schwartz is a wood sculptor from New Mexico. She has been drawn to the use of statuary as a conduit between the physical and metaphysical; concrete objects transcend the inherent limitations of the physical and provide a channel through which hidden meaning is unlocked. Wood is the perfect medium to explore concepts of the cyclical nature of life, containing within each piece a living history and future all its own. The recreation of wood into sculpture captures the transformative spirit of our own life cycles, and has the capacity to make any space sacred.

Click here to browse Elana’s artwork.

Full Schedule

Summer Artist Talks Schedule

In its first year, form & concept has emphasized powerful and diverse storytelling through its exhibition schedule and programs. The gallery’s roster of represented artists has been steadily growing, making for a dynamic One-Year Anniversary Exhibition (May 26-October 22, 2017). The majority of form & concept’s represented artists will speak, along with several guest artists.

Matthew Mullins & Wesley Anderegg | 5/27/17, 2-3 pm
Heidi Brandow | 6/3/17, 2-3 pm
Heather Bradley | 6/10/17, 2-3 pm
NoiseFold | 6/17/17, 2-3 pm*
Rebecca Rutstein | 7/1/17, 2-3 pm
Elana Schwartz | 7/8/17, 2-3 pm
Debra Baxter | 7/15/17, 2-3 pm
Jared Weiss | 7/22/17, 2-3 pm*
Armond Lara | 8/20/17, 2-3 pm
Broken Boxes Artists & Curators Panel Discussion | 8/20/17, 3-4 pm*

*Guest artists. All other participants are form & concept represented artists.

Preview | Summer Artist Talk: Elana Schwartz

Elana Schwartz- Artist Interview- The Wild Magazine- Santa Fe New Mexico

Albuquerque sculptor Elana Schwartz is headed up to Santa Fe this Saturday for an artist talk at form & concept (2-3 pm). We made the reverse journey a few months ago, to visit her studio and learn more about her process.

Before diving into her work space, which is in a shed in her backyard, we got an impromptu tour of Elana’s past work throughout her home. Perched by the door was a cluster of small figures that she made just after high school, when she started dreaming up strange and fantastical characters.

In one room, Elana pulled a two-headed stuffed animal off a shelf and showed us how she’d stitched two furry creatures together. Taxidermied animals appeared throughout the house, including a raccoon and several fish. She described the process of mounting a fish, which includes adding fake eyes and applying pigment to the scales.

In one way or another, all of the art Elana showed us connected with her current work at form & concept. The artist used wood, stone, metal, moss, resin, taxidermy elements and other materials to create the menagerie of mythological characters that populates our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition.

Elana Schwartz Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Chojor “Spiritual Wealth” (detail). Click here to see the full artwork.

It’s no wonder that a magazine called The Wild wanted to interview Elana. Here’s a flashback to their 2013 conversation with her:

Your wood sculptures are really bizarre and beautiful. I’m so curious about your process. How long do you spend on each piece?
It is really hard for me to gauge time when I am in my shop. Sometimes I spend all day in my shop and sometimes I can only be there a few hours in-between other life obligations. A few weeks ago, I arrived at my shop at seven in the morning and the next thing I knew someone came by and invited me to dinner. It turned out it was already 5pm and I didn’t even realize it. When I am in my shop, I get into a certain mode where I forget everything else, even eating and drinking. It probably isn’t that healthy! I probably spend about two to six months on each piece and that could be anywhere from thirty to five hundred hours.

Do the characters in your sculptures correlate to people in your life, or are they more mythical, abstract beings?

My pieces are mythical beings that I come up with in sketches or in my dreams. I get inspiration from Greek and Pagan myths.

Elana Schwartz Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Infans Custos (detail). Click here to see the full artwork.

Do you have a preconceived idea of what each work is going to look like, or do you develop one as you carve?
I usually start out with a plan from a sketch but things always change and evolve as I work on them. Even if I try to stick with a plan, my piece usually dictates how it will come out. Wood is very unforgiving so if you make a mistake you have to work with it and make it seem deliberate. When I am completely done with a piece the end result always surprises me, usually in a good way.

Click here to read more, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook for Elana’s artist talk on July 8 from 2-3 pm. From 5-8 pm that evening, Lauren Tresp of THE Magazine will host the publication’s 25th anniversary celebration at the gallery. Learn more about both events here.

Elana Schwartz Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kalsang “Good Fortune” (detail). Click here to see the full artwork.

 

Preview: NoiseFold Artist Talk

NoiseFold at Pilchuck Glass School- Seattle Washington- Form and Concept Gallery

Move over, hammer and chisel. NoiseFold’s sculpture installation at form & concept was generated in the digital world, and forged in the legendary glass studio of Dale Chihuly. Transdisciplinary artists Cory Metcalf and David Stout, who collaborate under the name NoiseFold, are known for combining visual art, music and interactive cinema into artworks that manipulate the senses and stretch the imagination. The centerpiece of their exhibition, a series of blown glass forms titled Metamorph, emerged from an unexpected project with master glass artists. Metcalf and Stout will speak about their installation at an artist talk on Saturday, June 17 from 2-3 pm.

NoiseFold- Metamorph Series- Glass Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“We were given eight days with two of Dale Chihuly’s glass blowers,” says Stout. “We decided to use software to generate novel forms, and then work with the glass artists to bring them into the physical world.” The idea was an extension of their previous work, which melds real-time animation and generative electronic sound within the legacy of cybernetics and mathematical visualization. As they produced three-dimensional forms on a screen and then watched artists shape them from molten glass, they drew some surprising parallels between glass blowing and their multimedia performances.

NoiseFold- Metamorph Series- Glass Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“It was interesting to see how collaboration works in a hot shop, because it’s this incredible level of nonverbal communication,” says Metcalf. “You’re watching people dance with flaming hot substances.” The result is a series of elegant forms that are meant to be viewed in sequence. “Each piece can stand on its own, but it’s really a series of eight pieces that make a transition from a sphere into a double cone form. Seen together, they represent the time-based process that you see in this transformation.” A video animation that depicts this transformation will appear next to the Metamorph sculptures in the exhibition.

NoiseFold- Metamorph Series- Glass Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

In another piece that will appear in the exhibition, titled Swarm Caste, NoiseFold generated forms using a series of equations and used a CNC machine to create a graphite mold. In the Pilchuck studio, they filled the mold with molten glass to create a sculptural form.

The works at form & concept are dramatically different from NoiseFold’s contribution to this year’s Currents New Media Festival, which opens on June 9th in the Santa Fe Railyard. For the festival, the duo is creating a virtual reality experience that utilizes large-scale projections to immerse viewers in surreal digital landscapes. Still, NoiseFold’s new understanding of glass art has echoed into their purely digital work.

NoiseFold- Metamorph Series- Glass Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“The opportunity for new media and traditional artists to merge their work is just so obvious,” says Metcalf. “Creating artificial boundaries between those worlds is not the right thing to do at this juncture. It’s important to start breaking those boundaries in the art world as much as possible.”

Meet Cory and David of NoiseFold at our latest Summer Artist Talk this Saturday, June 17, 2-3 pm. Click here to learn more about their exhibition at form & concept.