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More of a Kind

More of a Kind

More of a Kind

June/July 2015 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Monica Moses
Barry Rosenthal Found In Nature Series

Barry Rosenthal, Found in Nature series; Photo: Barry Rosenthal

Some artists work not by perfecting one piece but by gathering multiple pieces in a telling composition. Like curators, they ask themselves how each part plays off the others, working toward a satisfying whole.

Tim Tate's Opulent Surveillance applies Victorian ornamentation to a contemporary dilemma: Today, we’re all being watched. The assemblage, of cast polyvitro, glass, and video, features six blinking eyes. “All of our actions are under surveillance of some kind,” says the Washington, DC, artist – a situation that helps ensure public safety even as it intrudes on individual privacy. 

New York photographer Barry Rosenthal collects trash along New York Harbor and arranges the debris by color, type, or theme for his Found in Nature series. He positions the pieces so that they speak to each other, creating new, often whimsical, forms. 

Chicago artist Diane Cooper learned to appreciate wrapping and packaging when she lived in Japan for five years. Since that time, she has tapped her large collection of used, dyed, and painted textiles to fashion the configurations of her ongoing Bundles series.

Laurel Lukaszewski, a Washington, DC-area artist, describes herself as an incessant doodler who loves to play with positive and negative space. You can see the scribbles – and a love for composition – in The Garden at Night, made of extruded black stoneware knots she has plaited and fired.

Giselle Hicks started making pinch pots in a search for a more direct approach to clay after spending years with a multi-step, technical slipcasting process. Against the simplicity of the pinch pot, “all my other work felt suffocated and overworked,” says the Montana artist. Sometimes she presents the pots individually, but often she arranges them in groups, like little still lifes. 

Steffen Dam brings the sensibilities of a marine biologist to his glass creations. The Danish artist says his Biological Panel contains what “at first glance appears to be plausible specimens, but after a closer look it’s clear that it’s a parallel and fictive version of what you can find if you submerge yourself in the sea.”