January 10 - June 13, 2020
(closed March 14-30)
Stephanie Metz: InTouch
Bay area artist Stephanie Metz is known by many for her wool and felt creations that tantalize our imagination by playing with the anatomies of teddy bears, juxtaposing plush curves with porcupine needles, and abstracting familiar forms into new configurations. In earlier bodies of work by Metz, our sensory engagement was focused primarily on sight. With this new body of work, the InTouch Project, Metz invites us into a tactile exchange in which we complete the installation through our interaction with the artworks.
The InTouch Project is a hands-on sculptural experience that marks an entirely new direction for Metz. Beyond creating works meant to be touched, Metz has increased the scale of her work to human-scaled objects.
The de Saisset Museum is the first venue to present these new, alluring hands-on sculptural objects. For both Metz and the de Saisset, this is an experiment. How will audiences respond to the haptic invitation? Which pieces will audiences gravitate towards? In an installation focused on interaction, guests will complete the artwork through their interactions.
Presented in two different galleries, audiences have the opportunity to immerse themselves among the forms and explore social interactions through play and sharing.
In this exhibition, two new bodies of work premiere:
Viewers encounter the Holdables sculptures filling most of Gallery I. Vaguely familiar organic and geometric shapes constructed from thick stitched industrial felt, Holdables may at first glance resemble stone or metal. Upon further inspection, the rounded, angular, squat, elegant, blocky, and hollowed shapes may suggest uses and elicit actions, placing physical and interpretive demands on the viewer in a highly individual experience. Varying in size, and relatively lightweight, these Holdables are meant to be handheld and manipulated by visitors of all ages and abilities.
Hanging Pods offers a more meditative experience than the playful Holdables. Entering Gallery II, guests encounter mysterious, white cocoon-like human-sized objects hanging in a dense group in a darkened gallery. With enough space for exploration between the forms, visitors have the opportunity to examine the shapes, surface textures, weight, and solidity in close contact. Audiences can trace their hands over the pieces' soft but dense wool forms, firm ridges, scaly patterns, and more. Suspended off the ground, these seemingly heavy masses gently sway in response to the pressure.
Image on exhibition listing page: Stephanie Metz, InTouch Project banner, courtesy of the artist, © Stephanie Metz.