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The Art of Craft at RAC

The Art of Craft, The Regional Arts Commission curated by Nancy Newman Rice

Participating artists:

Metals, Sherri Jaudes and Laura Elizabeth Mullen

Ceramics, Jim Ibur and Yael Shomroni

Fibers, Laura Strand and Erin Vigneau Dimmick

Dates: Panel Discussion: May 14 w/ Jane Sauer, Duane Reed, Stefanie Kirkland and Jim Ibur

Finding a clear explanation of the difference between “fine art” and “craft art” is outdated, especially in view of meaningless hierarchical designations that define craft art as having a utilitarian purpose while fine art is esoteric and subject to philosophical interpretation. A difference does exist, and the best argument in support of this difference was stated straightforwardly by a young artist in residence at Craft Alliance, Wil Rimel, who maintained that he could not make his sculptural work from anything other than clay. His answer was a revelation as he inferred that the specific medium is inextricable from meaning in a work of art described as craft. For example, one can draw a quilt, but it is still a drawing of a quilt, not an actual quilt. Conversely, a work defined as fine art is not necessarily dependent upon a specific medium. For example, one can produce an image with the same meaning in a variety of media including, paint, graphite, printmaking techniques, as well as new media, (digital and video) for the meaning of the piece is not integral to the medium utilized, and the style and application of the medium will not, for the most part, influence the content.

The six artists selected for this exhibition demonstrate the premise that craft art is media driven. Not only does each artist possess remarkable technical skill in his or her specific medium, but each also has something unique to communicate: a story, an observation, a purpose, or an idea.

-Nancy Newman Rice

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