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ENGAGE Color, Ritual, Material Studies
Michael Radyk Featured artists
Dorothy Akpene Amenuke Janice Arnold Jeffrey Clancy Ted Hallman Mary Hark Ritsuko Hirai Moon Jung Jang Amy Putansu Barbara Tetenbaum Theo Uliano October 16 â€“ November 22, 2014 KU TZTOWN UNIVERSITY
The Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery
ENGAGE Color, Ritual, Material Studies Featured Artists
Dorothy Akpene Amenuke Janice Arnold Jeffrey Clancy Ted Hallman Mary Hark Ritsuko Hirai Moon Jung Jang Amy Putansu Barbara Tetenbaum Theo Uliano
Curated by Michael Radyk Presented by the Art Education & Crafts Department The Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery October 16 â€“ November 22, 2014 Art Education & Crafts Annual Conference November 21, 2014 Schaeffer Auditorium & Sharadin Arts Building
E N G AG E Color, Ritual, Material Group Exhibition M i l l e r G a l l e r y, K u t z t o w n U n i v e r s i t y
In the spring of 2014, I was asked to chair the Department of Art Education & Crafts’ annual conference and curate an accompanying exhibition in Kutztown University’s Marlin & Regina Miller Gallery. This exhibition uses the word “engage” as a conceptual device to explore the intersections between color, ritual and material, highlighting artists whose works offer complex and essential sensorial moments. Ten national and international artists--Janice Arnold, Mary Hark, Ritsuko Hirai, Theo Uliano, Ted Hallman, Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Amy Putansu, Moon Jung Jang, Barbara Tetenbaum and Jeffrey Clancy--are exhibiting. Their combined work displays a virtuoso balance between the fields of art, design and contemporary craft. Paramount in each of the artist’s work is the emphasis on the experiential. Today, critical making and material engagement include digital technologies, craft, design, artisan techniques and transformative amounts of expressive creativity. Artists’ conversations with color and material have played an essential role throughout history. Hopefully, the enhanced humanizing of digital, design and making worlds can offer new models for teaching and learning in the arts.
This exhibition is just one half of an exciting confluence of art, craft and design. The 76th Kutztown University Annual Art Education Conference, ENGAGE: Color, Ritual and Material Studies, is the second half. The conference will focus on how artists use color, ritual and material manipulation in their own practice and in their teaching. Felt artist Janice Arnold and Carol Sauvion, Executive Producer, Craft in America, will be Keynote speakers. The conference presentations, sessions and workshops will provide the opportunity for K-12 teachers, academics, researchers, artists, designers and students to exchange ideas and participate in a day-long engagement with the arts. I am grateful to the artists who generously loaned their work for the exhibition. The Kutztown University Foundation’s support of this exhibition is greatly appreciated. I would like to thank the faculty in Department of Art Education & Crafts, especially Dr. Peg Speirs, Interim Chair of the department and co-chair of the conference, for her input and encouragement. I also want to thank the community of the College of Visual and Performing Arts for their support. Thanks to Gallery Director Karen Stanford and her staff for guidance and help. -Michael Radyk , Curator
Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Ph.D Dorothy Akpene Amenuke is a member of the SANSA International Artists’ workshop, which is part of the international Triangle Arts Workshops’ network. Currently, she is a lecturer of sculpture in the department of Painting and Sculpture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Amenuke has participated in various International art workshops and residencies including; Apexart residency program in New York, International Women artists’ workshop by Kuona Trust in Kenya, Dwayer’s International Women Artists workshop in Egypt, and series of workshops entitled Artist to Artists: Multicultural Voices, by Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minnesota. She directed the International Women Artists Workshop (IWAWO 2009) organized by Art In Aktion in collaboration with Goethe-Institute Accra and also “OFKOB 2013, an Art Residency/Retreat program for some Ghanaian Visual artists, in Ofoase Kokobeng, Ghana. Dorothy Amenuke has shown her batik fabrics and fiber sculpture internationally. Her most recent work, “How Far How Near“, (which was exhibited in Amsterdam in 2012 and in Ghana in 2013) is in the collections of Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Amsterdam.
Janice Arnold Janice Arnold has made it her life to know and understand Felt. She has researched and worked with nomadic tribes of Central Asia and Mongolia and studied the high tech world of industrial felt. Arnold approaches her art and projects with intellectual sensibility and an open-minded design sense. These skills combine to offer an unparalleled perspective. Arnold is equally comfortable as a collaborator or solo artist and is driven by quality, design, refinement and challenge. She balances function, and practices design as a cohesive combination of intention, working with people and elements to create harmony. Exhibitions, installations and commissions include; Chroma Passage-Grand Rapids Art Museum, Palace Yurt-Fashioning Felt-Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Site specific permanent installations: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Corporate Headquarters Reception Area Furniture, Chroma Voyage - Seattle Center Key Arena, Seattle Center and The Bar at the Edge of the Earth-Cirque du Soleil.
A material so old that it has become new again By Janice Arnold
Note: When capitalized, Felt is being used as a noun. When lowercase, it is a verb or adjective. We are bombarded from all directions by things that demand immediate attention. The digital era has ushered in a frantic state of action and reaction. Has technology shifted our lives into hyperdrive? Or is it our response? Either way, my antidote for this frenetic state is making Felt. Feltmaking is very physical and rooted in a natural process allowed by the unique structure of the wool fiber. The slow ritualistic reenactment of this textile tradition, which has aided the survival of our species for millennia, requires that I am completely in the present. Making Felt recalibrates time and heals my sense of reality. Working with the ethereal tufts of raw silk and wool fiber feels like a tactile meditation, that I am at one with. What a lovely contrast to 3D printers and nano-pixels. Beginning in a time before geopolitical borders and boundaries, Felt was sacred and essential. Survival and advancement depended on this miraculous material. The deceptively simple principles required to make it (moisture, agitation, pressure) have remained constant for thousands of years. With origins that date back to the Iron Age, Felt is believed to predate all other textiles. I feel this ageless quality offers a connection to our collective
past. As modern societies have begun to see the value of living in harmony with their environment, a wisdom that nomadic cultures epitomize, this material has the potential to guide our future. Felt - a material so old that it has become new again. The English Arch installed in this exhibition was originally one small piece of a larger site- specific installation -- Palace Yurt -at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museumâ€™s Fashioning Felt exhibition in 2009. I conceived this installation to link the historical origins of Felt with contemporary art practice while demonstrating its versatility as an art form and functional fabric. The English Arch served both as the ceremonial portal into the installation as well as an introduction to the nomadic soul of the piece. It is rooted in the fact that traditional feltmaking is steeped in celebratory ritual, along with a nomadic belief in the sacred quality of the spoken word. In the traditional custom of feltmaking, every step is accompanied by an emblematic spoken blessing, which is intended to honor the process as well as bring good fortune to the feltmakers. The words embedded in this piece are one of these blessings. This is the English translation of a Palace Yurt blessing written for the completion of a new ger (yurt):
May all be calm and peaceful. Evolving since the time of the great Chinggis Khaan Established by ancient custom Becoming the fine, treasured palace-yurt Of the great and heroic Mongol nation. In harmony with the custom. Let us bless our new white Mongol ger.
Moved by the sense of honor and depth the blessing imbued, I felted the words within multiple layers of raw fibers and thin chiffon, thus paying homage to the rich tradition and ritual of gratefulness. The background pattern was derived from cellular forms referencing the primal relationship this material has to our existence. In the original installation, these words were only visible with careful scrutiny and certain types of light. Now as the piece has aged, and the metal fibers tarnished, the words have taken on a stronger visual voice. Installing a piece that is a small part of a larger whole presented some challenges. How does one give the individual piece its own voice while staying connected with the larger work? With every challenge, a window of opportunity exists. The galleryâ€™s shallow ceiling compared to the expansive height at the CooperHewitt forced me to think beyond hanging it on a single plane. This allowed a new kind of interaction with space and viewers. By grounding and supporting the Arch using a tension--based balance with stones, I was able to add dimension and focus light to create a reference to water in the shadows and forms created by the wool and silk. There is a dramatic luxury in this simplicity. The stones offer a new similitude - the symbolism between the weakness of one versus the strength of the whole. Wool as a core raw material with infinite potential guides my work - from the structure of the fibers on a cellular level to its communal celebrations and collective spirit. The material and process instill in me a respect for the past, a way of finding calm in the present and offering hope for a future that goes beyond technology.
Jeffrey Clancy Raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jeffrey Clancy is a visual artist, designer and educator whose studio practice is informed by historical and traditional craft practices and contemporary craft theory. His involvement in this field, his knowledge and manual skill set, have thus put him in a position in which he is able to question his own discipline. In so doing he creates objects that leave the observer in doubt, posing questions that allow a diversity of new craft based objects to be brought into circulation. He received a BFA in 1999 from Kutztown University and an MFA in 2005 from San Diego State University both degrees in metalsmithing and jewelry. Clancy has lectured extensively throughout the country at institutions such as Bowling Green State University, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Recently he was included in 40 under 40: Craft Futures exhibition at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute and a full length feature article on his work titled â€œRestless Progressionâ€? was published in Metalsmith magazine, 2013. His work has shown at other venues such as The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Mass; The National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN; The Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, ME. and Galerie Elisa Platteau, Brussels, Belgium. His work has been included in numerous professional publications and exhibition catalogs. He was an Associate professor at Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine for seven years and a Visiting Critic and lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI for three years. Currently Jeffrey Clancy is an associate professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Art.
Engaging with Ritual Angela M. La Porte, Ph.D. University of Arkansas Camilla McComb, Ph.D. Eastern Michigan University Peg Speirs, Ph.D. Kutztown University Ritual has long been an integral part of artistic practice and can be seen throughout the world as a reflection of meaningful human cultural experience. Traces of ritual behaviors from our human ancestors still exist in the form of rock art from Northwestern and Central Australia (Michaelsen, Ebersole, Smith, & Biro, 2000; Ross & Davidson, 2006) to 17,000-yearold sites in South Africa (Thackeray, 2005). Although much of the rock art depicted rituals related to hunting, healing, and other unidentifiable practices, the imagery and content varied across cultures, places, and time periods. Early scholarly studies of ritual focused on practices then seen as exotic, performed by people described as primitive in isolated places of the world (Brown, 1980; Durkheim, 1912), and often included various art forms as essential parts of ceremonial practices (Dissanayake, 1988). Ritual representations in art have become mystical and religious or secular images and/or acts, changing with culture over time and reflecting aspects of cultures from which they emerge (Brown, 1980, Dissanayake, 1988; Durkheim, 1912). Whitaker (1980) asserts that ritual “must be symbolic, repetitive, stereotypical, and a complexly patterned event” (p. 316) while Brown (2005) suggests that it becomes “segments of our patterns of behavior which we have inherited and practice and pass on to our descendants” (Brown, 2005, p. 127). As scholars attempt to define ritual, there is no universal understanding. Some non-Western languages lack a comparable term (Bell, 1997). The evolving characteristics of a ritual are perhaps best reflected in Grimes’ (1990) comparison to family characteristics where no two family members are identical, but they may share certain resemblances. This is
reminiscent of Wittgenstein’s (1953) definition of a game, and the understanding of art through the open concept theory (Weitz, 1956). The latter theory categorizes something as art if there is at least one characteristic of the form/object that resembles what has been historically identified as art. In neither instance is there a single characteristic that is shared by all games or art, but there is at least one recognizable similarity to prior manifestations of them. Relative to Grimes (1990) and others, a tangible definition for ritual and its relationship to art is a religious or secular act, performed repeatedly or reactivated by a person or group that involves the body and/or the senses, sound, language, a level of meaning, and often an artifact from material culture. Over the past 50 years, ritual has become a prominent crosscultural theme among artists, often rooted in ceremonies and traditions as many religious rituals decline or emerge anew (Bastien & Bromley, 1980) [see “Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life (2009)]. Today, many rituals are evolving into more secular expressions (Brown, 1980) and reflect the inventions and objects of the time, place, and culture [see “Art in Odd Places 2011: Ritual” (2011), and “Off-Spring: New Generations” (2014)]. According to Bastien and Bromley (1980), “Ritual and ceremony are integral to human societies. They provide human groups with means of creating a sense of continuity or transition, solidarity and communality, and mystery and majesty” (p. 58). The current interest in ritual seems to be a postmodern deconstruction of these ideas and a reassembly or reapplication in new contexts.
Since art reflects the context of the society from which it emerges, many artists have been drawn to ritual as: (a) a direct expression or reinterpretation of cultural tradition, (b) a social or political commentary, or (c) an artistic practice that can be transformative. Rituals represented through art forms or as art processes are reflections of meaningful cultural experience. Ritual as It Relates to Art We explore the potential of ritual through artwork, suggesting different aspects through which ritual could be embedded in the art of the exhibition, Engage: Color, Ritual and Material Studies. Our identified suggestions are possibilities, not definitive statements, as we believe that artists have to answer for themselves about the ways ritual manifests in their artistic practice. In addition to the specific definitions already offered through various fields of study (anthropology, sociology, religion, history, and philosophy), more general attributes of ritual could include: Attention to repetition as sameness or connectedness to the past; a preservation of history; embodiment through (re)enactment; and the routine of following a studio procedure or process. Alone or collectively, these examples could be signs of ritual in art. Lastly, we address ritual as translation and transformation. We begin with ritual as repetition or sameness. Repetition, the idea of coming around and doing again, can be a rote practice, or a rehearsed maneuver that does not require conscious intervention. Rote action is automatic, knowing something so well that you have sub-conscious command of it. Repetition practiced with consciousness, however, can imply a sacred act, giving focused attention to material, manipulation, subjectmatter, time, place, event, action, and/or people. The act of performing an action again, with conscious attention, elevates meaning. Ritual as repetition could generate a feeling of connectedness to the past or the future through a perceived, shared,
participation crossing generations. The medium, materials, and processes of the work in this exhibition at once represent both ancient practice and contemporary (re)interpretation. Ritual can be something to look forward to and plan for, and it can help us remember, knowing what to do when the time comes. At some level ritual as repetition in the artistâ€™s mark reaches another level of consciousness when awareness, moving toward a goal, results in a finished work as opposed to the endless repetition of a mantra. Repetition can also trigger meditation. Art, especially the aspect of making artifacts, can be a potentially meditative repetition directed towards an aesthetic goal as opposed to the aesthetic experiences of the repetition itself (which would be meditating). Ritual as preservation of history is what we would define as preserving practice in exactitude. Practicing a ritual in exactitude preserves it as a relic, and the point of the ritual, if reproduced exactly, preserves a piece of history. If the reason for doing the ritual is to preserve a part of history, the point is to do the ritual the same way with limited room for variance or modification. Ritual as embodiment through (re)enactment attempts to draw in or embody a higher energy or a sense of spirit, or in vodou practice, an actual spirit. Embodiment implies action, and having form and content imbues action with meaning. Ceremony as a form of (re)enactment can become ritual when it carries meaning to those involved in the ceremony. Performing ceremony without meaning can make it an empty, formal exercise. Emphasizing form (formal dress or costume, theatrical performance, symbolic accouterments, repetition, etc.) without content removes the reason behind the ceremony, often resulting in a sterile act. We can look at the formalistic aspects of the artwork but cannot say someone is practicing ritual based solely on its form or how it looks.
Routine can be another aspect of ritual. If artists are regular in their studio practice, they may have a conscious routine they go through to start to work, before and/or leading up to an art making session. Ritual can evolve out of routine but contains an extra layer of meaning, a special connection to process or procedure. Artists who deliberately include a sense of spirit into the process of art-making can push that process to become ritual. Another aspect of ritual is setting up parameters or criteria for following the same procedure each time. Establishing parameters or criteria becomes the procedure, but consciously followed time after time becomes a ritual.
Transformation disrupts our worldviews, and occurs when we are acutely, presently aware. It happens the moment we recognize that we are not separate from the world around us.
Lastly, we acknowledge the potential of art and artistic ritual to be translative and transformative in both the process and the product. As a theoretical framework for understanding this potential of art and ritual, we intersect the philosophies of Ken Wilbur (2006) and Eckhart Tolle (2005) to explain the difference between translation verses transformation and the relationship between consciousness and making art.
Tolle (2005) explained that consciousness, being in the present moment, makes us aware of what we can easily overlook, the obviousness of life. “When you look . . . without imposing a mental label . . . a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you. This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art” (p. 26).
Wilbur acknowledged both translation and transformation as indispensable in our lives but separates them in terms of the self. As Wilbur explained, the function of translation creates meaning for us, in that “the self is given a new way to think and feel about reality” (p. 15). Translation helps us make sense of the world and our experiences by offering ways to think differently about them. As a function that remains constant, translation helps us absorb and comprehend our surroundings and experiences. It gives meaning to our lives or legitimizes and supports our beliefs, paradigms, and worldviews (p. 16).
Making art while being in the moment, without any preconceptions intervening, is direct experience making art. In the ritual experience of making art, a point of ritual is getting to that state of being in the present. Art as a vehicle to communicate awe, wonder and passion—artists speaking their truths—supports the transformative experience of “transcending the self ” that Wilbur described.
The function of transformation, according to Wilbur, is “transcending the self ” (p. 15). With transformation, we give up our sense of self to embrace the immensity of a greater whole. Meaning has a larger purpose than ourselves, and offers an authenticity beyond everyday reality or what we know. For most people this experience is a rare phenomenon.
Translation in art or process offers different ways to represent the human condition in materials, media, form, concept and/ or subject matter. Translation, Wilbur points out, “does not usually or necessarily change the level of consciousness in a person,” whereas transformation comes from a change in consciousness (p. 15). Transformation happens when we awaken to “the obviousness of what is” (p. 18).
Ritual in art crosses the full gamut in the exhibition Engage, sparking dialogue about how, when, where, what, and why art reflects different aspects of ritual. Depending on our state of consciousness, art can translate the world for us or art can transform us. Children and Ritual: Engaging Pre-Adolescents in Conversation and Art-making In considering ritual as a rich and potentially transformative act we believe it essential to include children in the conversation.
Children develop an understanding of ritual at an early age. Graduating from diapers, eating with utensils instead of their hands, and taking responsibility for brushing their own teeth, are significant rights of passage, which serve to â€œincorporateâ€? the child into life of the family (Van Gennep, 1960). During a curricular unit of instruction focused on ritual, children first began by analyzing the routines of their lives. It became immediately evident that pre-adolescents understood routine as they reflected upon the cultural practices they participated in and then analyzed the purposes of those routines. Once students came to understand the purpose of routine, they were ready to be introduced to the idea of ritual. Children understand ritual as sacred or secular routines that are so culturally significant that they require special treatment (Bell, 1992). For instance, in Christian faith, Baptism is a fundamental routine, albeit sacred practice. Families having their children Baptized often purchase special clothing for the day and host a family meal after the ceremony. Most denominations recite prescriptive text and have specific protocols for handling Baptismal water. Adolescents may also be Confirmed, celebrate Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Fast during Ramadan. By example and participation children learn to understand directly, or indirectly, the cultural value of sacred ritual. After analyzing sacred ritual, children were ready to examine secular rituals: Cultural events, or rites of passage deemed more special than the routine (Nelson, 2007). A Presidential Inauguration, the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, even high school graduation are ritualistic.
to elevate, or make special an aspect of their lives. Using ritual as a lens to observe distinctions between the sacred and secular, students each designed a Personal Shrine relating to one of three themes: Remembrance, Tribute, or Future Intention. In teaching this curricular sequence students remembered deceased parents, grandparents and pets. Students paid tribute to their cultural heritage, favorite authors, family serving in the military or police force, and family members who had survived cancer. In thinking about the future, pre-adolescents saw themselves as athletes, musicians, working professionals, college students, and even as parents one day having their own families. Incorporating ritual into this holistic approach to art education (Campbell, 2011) afforded children the opportunity to make personal meaning of the people, places, and objects they held sacred in their lives. Our hope is that in analyzing routine, and in better understanding ritual, that pre-adolescents will develop a curiosity for understanding rituals new to them, thus becoming more compassionate in how they interact with practices perceived different from their own. We invite you to ENGAGE with the artwork in this exhibition catalog, encouraging you to define ritual for yourself. Examine the varying color, ritual, and material works created and walk away with your own questions. For instance: What sacred practices are significant to you and your family and friends? How might you use artistic creation to convey to others the power of ritual in your life? What can you learn about the power and sacredness of ritual through conversations with children? Finally, we hope you will envision a world where all peoples come to honor, respect, and appreciate the significance of ritual in our collective lives.
After discussing the sacred and secular aspect of ritual, children then examined the concept of the Shrine. Students observed differences between sacred shrines and artist appropriated shrines, realizing that they too could make art Engageâ€ƒ21
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Grimes, R. L. (1990). Ritual criticism: Case studies in its practice, essays on its theory. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. MASS MoCA (2000, September 26). Press release: Antoni works day and night in performance at MASS MoCA [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.massmoca.org/press_ releases/09_2000/9_26_00.html Michaelsen, P., Ebersole, T. W., Smith, N. W., Biro, P. (2000). Australian ice age rock art may depict earth’s oldest recordings of shamanistic rituals. Mankind Quarterly, 41 (2), 131-147. Mingwei, L. (2011). The letter writing project [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.leemingwei.com/projects.php
MoMAMULTIMEDIA. (2011). Eat, sleep, and pray: Everyday Bell. C. (1992). Ritual theory ritual practice. New York, NY: Oxford Rituals and contemporary art with Lee Mingwei and Tino University Press. Sehgal [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.moma.org/explore/ multimedia/audios/156/1668 Bell, C. M. (1997). Ritual: Perspectives and dimensions. NY: Oxford University Press. MoMAPS1. (2011). NeoHooDoo: Art for a forgotten faith Brown, R. B. (1980). Ritual one. In R. B. Brown, (Ed.), Rituals and ceremonies in popular culture (pp. 1-18). Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green University Press. Brown, R. B. (Ed.). (2005). Profiles of popular culture: A reader. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. Campbell, L. (2011). Holistic art education: A transformative approach to teaching art, in Art Education, 64 (2), 18-23. Dissanayake, E. (1988). What is art for? Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. Durkheim, E. (1912). Lex formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse [The elementary forms of religious life]. Paris: Alcan. Garza, C. L. (1996). In my family. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
[Website]. Retrieved from http://momaps1.org/exhibitions/ view/205
Nelson, J. (2007). Teaching ritual propriety and authority through Japanese religions. In C. Bell (Ed.), Teaching ritual (pp. 103-118). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Ross, J., & Davidson, I. (2006). Rock art and ritual: An archaeological analysis of rock art in arid Central Australia. Journal of Archeological method and theory, 13 (4), 305-340. Thackeray, J. F. (2005). The wounded roan: A contribution of hunting and trance in southern African rock art. Antiquity, 79 (303), 5-15. Tolle, E. (2005). A new earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose. NY: Penguin Group.
Weitz, M. (1956). The role of theory in aesthetics. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 15 (1), 27-35. Wilbur, K. (2006). A spirituality that transforms: Translation verses transformation. Unity Magazine, 186 (1), 14-20. Van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Whitaker, III, W. W. (1980). The contemporary American funeral ritual. In R. B. Browne (Ed.), Rituals and ceremonies in popular culture (316-325). Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green University Press. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical investigations (G.E.M. Anscombe, Trans.). New York: MacMillan Company. Angela M. La Porte, Ph.D. University of Arkansas Camilla McComb, Ph.D. Eastern Michigan University Peg Speirs, Ph.D. Kutztown University
Ted Hallman Ted Hallman has been an important figure in modern design since the late 1950s, using textiles as an artistic medium. Born in 1933 in Bucks County, his work is in the permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Hallman has traveled the globe studying textiles. Along the way, he influenced an entire generation of artists in the emerging craft movement he helped to raise in stature. He continues to do so today. â€œI thought of myself as a weaver, and here they wanted me in an art museumâ€? Hallman said as major museums have collected his work. As a fiber artist, Hallman typically works with wire, yarn and fabric.
Mary Hark Mary Hark is a Professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. An independent curator of textile and paper art exhibitions, she is proprietor of HARK! Handmade Paper Studio which specializes in small editions of high quality flax and linen papers. Hark’s fiber/mixed media paintings have been exhibited internationally. She has lectured and taught at art departments nationally including Penland School of Craft, Haystack School of Craft, Women’s Studio Workshop, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Grant in 2006 to work and study in Ghana, West Africa, Mary continues to have strong ties there. She developed a papermaking workshop in Kumasi, which exclusively uses local materials, and she is one of the founders of Take Time Press, a limitededition, fine-press publisher which nurtures international artist collaborations and celebrates the cultural richness of the Greater Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Reengaged: Materials and Color in Contemporary Crafts By Amanda Seanor, Art Education and Crafts Major, Graduate 2015
As an Art Education and Crafts double-major at Kutztown University, my typical day consists of cutting horseshoe-shaped pieces of wood with a jigsaw, weaving cotton thread on a loom, and reading about art history. Through these experiences, I have learned how materials impact studio practices and conceptual ideas. Many artists are similar in their techniques and historical references, but the manipulation of materials is where differences appear between artists. Some may use traditional materials or processes in a contemporary way, rethinking artistic norms by utilizing unconventional components or modifying our expectation of conventional objects. Indeed, the manipulation of different materials is often what sets artists apart from one another, as can be seen in the exhibition, Engage: Color, Ritual & Material Studies. This is the first year the new Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery will host an exhibition that relates to, and coincides with, Kutztown University’s Annual Art Education Conference. This event presented an opportunity to gather the ten participating artists for an exhibition and symposium that also includes educators and academics. Curated by Kutztown University Professor Michael Radyk, the exhibition features five textile artists, one ceramicist, one metalsmith, and three artists that work with paper. All of these individuals reconsider materials and craft traditions, employing color for diverse means while stressing the attributes of their respective medium.
Ritsuko Hirai, Ted Hallman, Janice Arnold, Amy Putansu, and Dorothy Akpene Amenuke are fiber artists whose works are very different due to the way in which they manipulate their materials and color. Ritsuko Hirai is a textile designer rooted in her Japanese culture who creates fabrics that are in conversation with “an ancient craft and a modern sensibility.” Hirai exhibited the Sweater Conference 2014 for the “Wrap Around Project” at the Nave Gallery in Somerville, MA. The “Wrap around Project” is a year long campaign including knitted and crocheted objects as a yarnbombed installation to support and promote the Somerville Homeless Coalition. The Sweater Conference 2014 includes small plastic animal figures with sweaters crocheted around the animals’ bodies. The animals are placed on the floor in a single-file line as if they were marching in a spiral formation. There is an ironic dialogue between a figure of an animal wearing a sweater when in reality animals have a perpetual sweater with their fur coat. Hirai also created A Long Dress, which is a long piece of dyed cotton gauze in a rich teal color hanging from the ceiling and pooling on the ground representative of someone wearing a very long dress. Not only did she manipulate the gauze by dying it, she also exploits the scale of the dress by having the top of the dress small enough to fit an infant, hanging it from a baby-sized hanger, and allowing the dress to cascade down to the floor. Another artist who dyes his material and works with color is Ted Hallman, born in Bucks
County, and an important figure in modern design since the late 1950s. Hallman explores the nature of different materials to create sculptures with a variety of mediums consisting of wire, acrylic yarns, fabric, wool, and rayon. He creates knotted sculptures with dyed fibers that are tied around steel armatures and knotted to run about nine feet long while suspended from the ceiling and meant to be viewed in the round. When his sculptures are hanging and lit they cast interesting shadows, making them look bigger than they already are. On the other hand, the other textile artists like Janice Arnold, Amy Putansu and Dorothy Akpene Amenuke work with traditional techniques but at the same time they explore different ways of making that technique and material more contemporary. For instance, Janice Arnold works in the traditional art form of felt
making and combines it with “a modern aesthetic to create art and textiles that transcend time, looking both modern and ancient.” Arnold states “we are starved for natural textures,” which explains her use of wool and making felt, because it is a texture in art unlike many others. Felt is a soft material made from wool fibers agitated together to create a tactile yet strong flexible piece of material. Arnold’s English Arch-Palace Yurt Entrance is a segment from a larger site specific installation for the Smithsonian CooperHewitt National Design Museum. The full installation is of a cream-colored palace yurt, which is a lavishly decorated tent-like structure covered with felt and home to Turkic-Mongolian tribes. The yurt combines the past, present and future since the felt making process is very traditional and has been around for many years, but she manipulates it in a modern way that is timeless.
Amy Putansu is a hand weaver who also creates modern textiles through traditional techniques. She creates woven textiles including multi-layer fabrics as well as ondulé weavings, fabrics that have an undulating quality to them as they are woven. Grid, Horizon, and Smudged are all ondulé weavings created on the loom by hand. Putansu draws inspiration from her home near coastal Maine, as the raw environment influences her artistic response and approach to materials. Dorothy Akpene Amenuke similarly responds to her environment through textiles. In her native Ghana, fabric and cloth occupy privileged positions in society because certain cloths are worn depending on what people are trying to communicate. Amenuke is trying to convey her own personal language through long and heavily patterned colored batik fabrics. Whether a traditional technique is used to create a modern textile like Arnold, Putansu, and Amenuke, or a sculptural form like Hallman’s, or a dyed garment like Hirai, these artists manipulate diverse elements in unique and compelling ways. Beyond fibers the exhibition features ceramicist Theo Uliano and metalsmith Jeffrey Clancy. Despite working in vastly different materials both artists begin with the utilitarian object. Theo Uliano creates functional works as a starting point for conceptualizing his ideas. He uses clay for its material iconography and history but then modernizes it with the satirical and colorful surfaces that he creates on tableware and other vessels. He aims to create feelings of irony, humor and curiosity when interacting with his pieces. The gestural drawings and phrases or words on the surface of his pieces reference figures in popular culture or things he encounters in everyday life. Uliano states, “there is something absurd in placing words containing slang and foul language on a handmade coffee mug.” He also uses the way he glazes his ceramics in a modern way by using colorful underglazes and metallic golds and silvers as accents to fill and bring life to the surface. His vessels expand this design element to a larger scale and are meant to be seen on all sides with the drawings covering the entire object. However he
pushes the clay material further by hand-building the vessels and making them unconventional with bulges on the sides unlike the usual large-scale thrown vase, creating a tension between what would be a lackluster traditional object with a contemporary colorful surface. The juxtaposition between the common or everyday and the traditions found in materials is also what inspires the metalsmith Jeffrey Clancy. He uses utilitarian objects like bowls, trays, spouts and handles as a point of departure but by the end the final piece has a faint likeness to the original source. Clancy works intimately with his materials because he likes to see what the hand can bring to metal. However his most recent works, like Another and Images of Silver Objects, were appropriated in order to challenge how the audience views history. Another includes silver objects indicative of a Paul Revere-style bowl that sit on what appears to be the box the bowls are stored in, complete with photos on the front and names printed on the sides. Clancy’s other work Images of Silver Objects, has an ironic conversation where a group of black and white digital prints include colored text printed over the object explaining what the object is and who it was made by. The prints depict handmade objects created by other artists but they do not show the actual, physical thing. Rather than viewing works made by Clancy, you find yourself reading text about material goods that are not present. Though Uliano and Clancy work very differently and in different mediums, they both manipulate their materials in conceptual and ironic ways. Finally, the other material featured in the exhibit is paper through the works of Mary Hark, Moon Jung Jang, and Barbara Tetenbaum. Mary Hark, the owner of Hark! Handmade Paper Studio, works in small editions of high quality papers made from flax and linen. Her framed wall pieces resemble collages of different handmade papers overlapping and stitched together in different colors. Some are shinier than others, showing her experimentation with paper making and assembly, and they recall collages from art history, such as those by Anne Ryan,
Kurt Schwitters, or Bauhaus designers. Moon Jung Jang, on the other hand, is a graphic designer and visual artist who created the The Color of Athens Weather, The Color of Athens Weather Book, and The Metamorphosis of A Minor Arc, I and II. Arcs and minor arcs as well as gingko leaves, which are the shape of half arcs, inspired The Metamorphosis of a Minor Arc, I and II. They are books with brightly colored paper in a gradient of yellow to blue that are cut in the the shape of half an arc. The Color of Athens Weather is a graphic wall piece that shows multiple two-tone colored circles placed on white background that is then hung on a turquoise wall. When considered with The Color of Athens Book, which sits next to it in the Miller Gallery, viewers become aware that each color within the circle relates to the weather in Athens, Georgia, ostensibly tracking changing climactic conditions. Somewhat differently, the book artist Barbara Tetenbaum creates colorful visions but sometimes without actual color. For instance, her book and framed pieces are white paper with printed black text, but the text is the most colorful part due to her use of descriptive words she uses in her sentences. Her other pieces have a colored background but the rich text adds another element to this backdrop. When the viewer reads her sentences they can visualize the scene of what they are reading since her language is so precise and descriptive. These three artists exploit color for their works on paper, at times the color is literally present, whereas in other instances it is printed on paper or suggested through writings. No matter the medium, whether it be fiber-based, ceramic, metal, paper, or any other medium, materials and color inform much of artistic production. Artists study what a material is capable of, what it can do, and how it can work for their ideas. Even though the artists of this show use different or similar mediums to create their works, material manipulation is what unifies them and their sensibilities. The exhibition, Engage: Color, Ritual & Material Studies, reminds us of the significance of the object, with ten diverse artists who explore the materiality of their craft and reengage with fundamental components of art.
Ritsuko Hirai Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand, Ritsuko Hirai mastered her skills in Printmaking and Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design. With her roots in Japanese culture, Hirai creates fabrics that, through their organic material and simple structures, integrate a quality that speaks of both of an ancient craft and a modern sensibility. She refers to fabric being â€œlike water that has the power to transform, wrap, hide, be light like air, and be heavy and hard like ice, to bring us higher, to create a balanced space for both the nature and us.
Moon Jung Jang Moon Jung Jang is a graphic designer, visual artist, and teacher. Her primary research interests involve the relationship between space and configuration, visual value and relativity, and design rhetoric in visual communication. Her research has included Peripheral Vision, Disturbed Boundaries, and A Minor Arc. Her work has appeared internationally in such exhibitions as The Tranava Poster Triennial (Slovakia); Ten Images for Ithaca (Greece); The International Poster Triennial ( Japan); The International Poster and Graphic Arts Festival of Chaumont (France); 365: AIGA (New York); AIGA SEED Award GALA (Atlanta). She is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art, in Athens, Georgia.
Amy Putansu Amy Putansu is a native of coastal Maine, and a dedicated hand weaver since she earned her BFA at Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. Putansu Textiles was a studio in Maine and a manifestation of her vision of sophisticated and elegant textiles from the hand loom. From 1998 to 2005 this work received awards from the American Craft Council, was profiled by Martha Stewart, and admitted into the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery. Since 2008 she has been leading the wellrespected Professional Crafts fibers program at Haywood Community College in western North Carolina, as well as workshops at Penland School of Craft, and Arrowmont School of Craft. The experience of the rugged north Atlantic seascape informs the woven work that Amy Putansu pursues in her studio practice now, within the parameters of the ondulĂŠ technique. Her ondulĂŠ fabric has been included in exhibitions with the Southern Highlands Craft Guild of which she is a member; various exhibitions with the Southeastern Fiber Educators Association; Handweavers Guild of America Convergence exhibitions; and at the 2014 World Shibori Conference in Hangzhou, China.
Barbara Tetenbaum Barbara Tetenbaum is a visual artist interested in the act of reading. She works in a variety of media including artist books, prints, installation art and animation. She founded her artist book imprint, Triangular Press, in 1979. She is currently Professor and Department Head of Book Arts at Oregon College of Art & Craft in Portland, Oregon. Recent honors include a 2012 Koopman Distinguished Chair at the Hartford Art School, a 2010 Sally Bishop Fellowship at the Center for the Book in NYC, and a finalist for the 2013 MCBA Prize. She spent a recent sabbatical in Leipzig, Germany, conducting research, studying and teaching in the book arts. She exhibits nationally and abroad and her work can be found in many public collections.
Theo Uliano A lifelong native of the Philadelphia area, Theo Uliano completed his MFA in Ceramics at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia in 2011, after earning his BFA in Ceramics at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania in 2007. His loose, satirical cartoons and drawings, commenting on everyday life on functional ware have recently attracted a following. Theo has recently worked as an “Artist in Residence” and assistant in Lisa Naples’ Studio in Doylestown, Pennsylvania while lecturing and exhibiting nationally. Theo is currently the full-time Studio Technician and an instructor at The Clay Studio in Old City Philadelphia as well as Adjunct Professor in Ceramics at Middlesex College in New Jersey.
Conference Information Friday, November 21, 2014
Amy Putansu Ondule Weaving in the 21st Century SH 121
Registration & Breakfast
Jeffrey Clancy Artist Presentation SH 114
Dr. Peg Speirs, Interim Department
Mary Hark Making Artwork Between Cultures: Report from the Field SH 113
Professor Michael Radyk,
oon Jung Jang M Designer Presentation SH 111
Janice Arnold, Felt Artist
Break to View Exhibition
Chair, Conference Associate Chair Conference Chair
Artist Presentation Sessions Sharadin Arts Building
Kutztown Art Education Awards
Lunch in the Georgian Room
Room 120 Sharadin Arts Building
Carol Sauvion in Conversation with
Dr. Marilyn Stewart
1:45-4:00 Ceramics Workshop and Artist presentation
Room 108 Sharadin Arts Building
Theo Uliano & Professor James Chaney
Color, Text and Form
Room 121 Sharadin Arts Building
Dr. Daniel Haxall
Miller Gallery Talk
Miller Gallery Sharadin Arts Building
Meet the Artist and Closing Reception
Gallery talk with the Artist
Please join us in the Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery
The Place of Textiles in Contemporary African Art
Saturday, November 22, 2014 3:00-4:00
Art Educator Sessions
olores Eaton and Dr. Amy Bloom D Craft in America in the Classroom
Sharadin Arts Building
Dr. Camilla McComb Routine, Ritual, and Personal Shrines: Pre- AdolescentsExplore the Sacred in their Lives
Bob Reeker Engaging and Assessing Young Learners Through CreativeExploration and Expression
r. Angela LaPorte D Exploring Ritual Through Art Education
Room 107 Sharadin Arts Building
Jeffrey Clancy & James Malenda
Room 121 Sharadin Arts Building
Mary Hark & Michael Radyk
An I ntroduction to the Craft
Pewter-A Poor Man’s Silver
The Topography of Handmade Paper:
Special Thanks u n i V er s i tY FaCu LtY a n d sta F F
Dean Mowder and Associate Dean Kiec, College of Visual and Performing Arts Michael Radyk and Dr. Peg Speirs Art Education and Crafts Department Karen Stanford Director of University Galleries and Community Outreach Gallery Committee: Elaine Cunfer, Miles Decoster, Carrie Nordlund, Rhonda Wall, Dan Haxall, Dan Talley stu d en t a ss i sta n ts
Lauren Beauchner, Andrew Blatt, Ben Hoffman, Erika Wendel, Meg Yoder, Amanda Seanor, Beth Wilson, Mary Martuscelli P H OtO gra P H er
Nicole Horsfield Cata LO g d es i gn er
About Kutztown University The Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery of Kutztown University presents significant and professionally executed solo and group exhibitions of contemporary art in a variety of mediums as well as supporting programs, events, and services that will directly enhance the artistic and philosophical development of our students and our community. We strive to challenge assumptions and stimulate discussion by presenting artwork and programs relevant to the social and cultural life of the general and special populations within our service area. Located an hour north of Philadelphia, and two hours west of New York City, KU has an enrollment of 10,000+ students. Each year, our College of Visual and Performing Arts awards approximately 225 undergraduate degrees in Communication Design, Fine Arts, Art Education, and Crafts. Our Visual Arts programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Photo Credits Cover: Janice Arnold, Palace Yurt, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield.
Page 28: Mary Hark, Driftless Reveries (1 - 10), detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 2: Michael Radyk, Work In Progress, Green and Gold, detail. Photo by Michael Radyk
Page 30: Mary Hark, Driftless Reveries (1 - 10), detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 4: Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Batik, detail, Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 32: Ted Hallman, Landscape Installation, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 5: Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Batik, details. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 33: Ritsuko Hirai, A Long Dress. Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 6, 7, 9: Janice Arnold, Palace Yurt, photos by Nicole Horsfield Page 10, 11: Miller Gallery Engage Exhibition layouts. Photos by Nicole Horsfield
Page 34: Ritsuko Hirai, Sweater Conference, detail. Photos by Ritsuko Hirai and Nicole Horsfield Page 36: Moon Jung Jang, The Color of Athens. Photos by Moon Jung Jang
Page 12: Jeffrey Clancy, Another, detail. Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 37: Moon Jung Jang, The Metamorphosis of A Minor Arc, I & II. Photos by Moon Jung Jang
Page 13: Jeffrey Clancy, Images of Silver Objects, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 38, 39: Miller Gallery Engage Exhibition layouts. Photos by Nicole Horsfield
Page 15: Amy Putansu, Grid, detail, Photo by Amy Putansu
Page 40: Amy Putansu, Grid, detail. Photo by Amy Putansu
Page 17: Barbara Tetenbaum, Instructions for Viewing, detail. Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 41: Amy Putansu, Grid. Photo by Amy Putansu
Page 21: Theo Uliano, Vessel 2, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 42: Barbara Tetenbaum, Instructions for Viewing, detail. Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 22: Ted Hallman, Landscape Installation, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsefield
Page 43: Barbara Tetenbaum, Melancholia, 1-4, layout by Wyatt Glennon
Page 23: Ted Hallman, Landscape Installation. Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 44: Theo Uliano, Vessel 1, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsfield
Page 24/26: Ted Hallman, Landscape Installation, detail. Photo by Nicole Horsefield Page 27: Mary Hark, Driftless Reveries (1 - 10), detail. Photo by Karen Stanford
Page 45: Theo Uliano, Vessel 1. Photo by Nicole Horsfield, details by Karen Stanford Page 51: Miller Gallery Engage Exhibition layout. Photos by Nicole Horsfield
The Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery
K ut z town U niversity
PO Box 730 Kutztown, PA 19530 www.kutztown.edu/acad/artgallery