June 2012

New Exhibits at Santa Clara University’s de Saisset Museum Explore the Intersection of Art and Craft

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 25, 2012—The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University opens two new exhibits in fall that examine both the materiality and function of art. Guest curated by Sheryl Nonnenberg, Beyond Function: Fiber, Fabric, and Finery explores innovations in textile art through the work of eleven Bay Area artists. Jeweled Prosthetics: Jewelry as Extension of Self, an exhibit organized by guest curator Melissa Behravesh, features pieces by two artists who take jewelry beyond the realm of conventional adornment. Both exhibitions are on view August 17 – December 2, 2012.

Beyond Function brings together artists working in a variety of media, ranging from traditional quilts to hand-knitted lace, from found-object assemblage to felt and embroidery. Artists such as Therese May, Yvonne Porcella, and Joan Schulz are well-established in the field of fabric arts, while others such as Victoria May and Stephanie Metz are relatively new to the practice. Yet, whether they are using traditional techniques and materials or experimenting with new and untried directions, all of the artists featured in Beyond Function transcend notions of “craft” through their art.

“The title of the exhibition, Beyond Function, hints at parallel themes in the show. For all of the artists, fabric and fiber provide a starting point, with an unlimited potential for expression,” explains Nonnenberg. “It also refers to the use of recycled materials by many of the participants. These objects are given second life, beyond their original function.”

Each of the participating artists was selected for his or her reputation within the fiber arts community as well as for their use of innovative techniques and meticulous workmanship. “There will be something for everyone in the exhibition,” comments Nonnenberg.

Jeweled Prosthetics features art jewelry by two contemporary, American artists, Catherine Grisez and Lauren Kalman. Their work moves beyond traditional notions of adornment, blurring the boundaries between jewelry, sculpture, and performance. Trained in the jewelry tradition, Grisez and Kalman utilize the architecture of the body to inform the fit, configuration, and concept for their jeweled objects. Their works highlight and embellish, rather than disguise, the wearer’s seen and unseen traumas and imperfections. In this way, they become an extension of the self, altering, manipulating, and augmenting the landscape of the wearer’s body. Unlike conventional jewelry, Grisez’s and Kalman’s pieces are worn and performed once, documented by photography and video.

“Both artists challenge and redefine jewelry’s perceived values and meaning through their work,” observes Behravesh. “Collectively, their pieces reflect art jewelry’s ability to blur the boundaries of many disciplines, and to bridge the divide between art and craft.”

In addition to these shows, the de Saisset Museum features Figure Forward: Works by Bay Area Figurative Artists, an exhibition drawn from the permanent collection that explores the lasting influence of the Figurative Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Mission Vestments from the Permanent Collection is also on view.

The museum celebrates the opening of the fall season on October 4th. Beginning at 6 p.m., guest curator Sheryl Nonnenberg and artists Kit Davey, Lynn Koolish, and Yvonne Porcella will provide an exclusive walk through of Beyond Function to museum members. Melissa Behravesh will also be present to give a special tour of Jeweled Prosthetics. A free, public reception will take place on the same evening from 7-8:30 p.m.

On Thursday, November 4, the museum presents Relieved of All Utility: Three Textile Artists Discuss their Work at 7 p.m. Programmed in conjunction with Beyond Function, Therese May, Stephanie Metz, and Pam Moore address the history and traditions surrounding their work as well as their innovative techniques in a panel discussion moderated by Wo Schiffman, owner of Fibre Arts Design Studio in Palo Alto. This event is free and open to the public.

About the de Saisset Museum
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is the South Bay’s free museum of art and history. The museum was founded adjacent to the Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the Santa Clara University campus in 1955 and is one of only three museums in the South Bay accredited by the American Association of Museums. The de Saisset Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets objects of art and history for the educational and cultural enrichment of all people. The museum achieves its mission through an active program of exhibitions, collections, education programs, and publications.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley. Santa Clara offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s degrees in a number of professional fields, law degrees, and engineering and theology doctorates. Distinguished by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, Santa Clara educates leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion grounded in faith-inspired values. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara is California’s oldest operating institution of higher education. For more information, see www.scu.edu.

Media Contact:
Jean MacDougall | de Saisset Museum | 408-554-4528 | 408-554-7840 fax | jmacdougall@scu.edu

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