Plants become sculptural vessels - Albuquerque Journal

Plants become sculptural vessels

Ring by Jas Simmons is one of a number of pieces by the artist that shares a distant kinship with ancient Egyptian jewelry.

The Weyrich Gallery is hosting “Long-Time Co-Conspirators,” nature-based fiber art sculptural vessels by Karen Simmons and jewelry by Jas Simmons through Jan. 28.

The show is filled with Karen’s fragile yet beautifully tied and woven constructions made of twigs, feathers, seed pods and grasses. The vessel forms are made of flower petals and other plant fibers in a process that parallels paper making.

Her sculpture echoes many natural architectural forms like bird’s nests, mud wasp nests, beehives and termite mounds.

If you go
WHAT: “Long-Time Co-Conspirators,” handmade paper sculpture by Karen Simmons and jewelry by Jas Simmons
WHEN: Through Tuesday, Jan. 29. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday and open by appointment on Monday. Call 883-7410
WHERE: Weyrich Gallery, 2935 Louisiana NE
HOW MUCH: Free

She discovers a contemplative logic in constructions made by animals and insects that seem to work within the rhythmic cadence of wind gusts and rain showers without the anxiety with which many of us are burdened.

Her work has a distinctive Asian feeling reminiscent of Japanese Raku tea bowls as well as traditional Japanese bamboo weavings. Since some of her vessels float within rectilinear constructions made from plant stems, Karen also touches upon Japanese traditional packaging designs based on bamboo boxes built to safely carry valuable porcelain vessels for shipping.

In “Repose” she suspends a jar form within a structure built from stems with just enough triangulation to keep the fragile piece from collapsing. It is a gorgeous and well-designed work.

Karen celebrates the four seasons with her “Bower Bird” series of pod-like vessels mounted in handmade boxes.

In an untitled construction Karen utilizes striped tapered sticks to embellish a vessel bound in a hand-made box that becomes an altar or shrine from some forgotten culture. It is a stunning piece.

In her artist statement she cites the writings of Gretel Ehrlich, who penned: “A nest is a cup of space, a swinging cradle, an anchored platform, a pocket in bark or dirt … a dent in the sand. It represents the still-point … where past and future meet.”

“Repose” by Karen Simmons is a beautifully designed construction that shares a kinship with traditional Japanese package design.

When Lucy Lippard published “Overlay” 30 years ago she was chronicling the already eight-decades-old interface between ancient primitive art and modernism introduced by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and others.

But Lippard was examining the parallels between contemporary art and prehistoric art by land-based installation artists like Mary Miss, Michael Heizer, Michael McCafferty and many others who at the time were inspired in part by ancient European megaliths, stone spirals and Native American cultures like the mysterious mound builders.

At that time there were other artists who looked closely at ritual objects from aboriginal cultures and found in them an amazing continuity between the past and present.

My first encounter with painted sticks in a contemporary art setting was in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial in 1970. Several pieces in the show were fashioned from fragments of tree branches that had been wrapped with string or rawhide and painted with bands of color. They looked quite old like bits of an ancient altar.

Despite all of the historic connections I find Karen’s work to be too quiet for prime time in the ’70s and too well-executed for installation art from the ’90s.

Instead her work is a refreshing look at nature and low technology that cleanses the eye and stills mind in an era of incessant electronic assaults on our waning attention.

The very carefully designed and executed jewelry by Jas is an elegant blend of silver and bronze. His designs are a harmonious mingling of geometric and organic forms that share a distant kinship with ancient Egyptian jewelry.

Both artists are well worth a visit.

Home » Entertainment » Arts » Plants become sculptural vessels

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
'The Locksmith' director Nicolas Harvard talks time in Las ...
ABQnews Seeker
Nicolas Harvard was familiar with New ... Nicolas Harvard was familiar with New Mexico before he was at the helm of 'The Locksmith.' The filmmaker had worked in the state on ...
2
In the wake of catastrophe, 'Lava' explores the themes ...
Arts
'Lava' opens on Thursday, Feb. 9, ... 'Lava' opens on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Vortex Theatre, and runs through Feb. 26.
3
New Mexico Philharmonic to play Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 ...
Arts
The New Mexico Philharmonic will perform ... The New Mexico Philharmonic will perform this massive piece on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Popejoy Hall led by music director/conductor Roberto Minczuk.
4
New Mexico history: Centuries after the Spanish dubbed it ...
Arts
Santo Domingo is the name Spanish ... Santo Domingo is the name Spanish explorers gave to the pueblo in the 17th century and subsequently adopted by other outsiders, including non-tribal government ...
5
Book series focuses on social issues facing young adults ...
Arts
'Zakiya's Enduring Wounds' is the 11th ... 'Zakiya's Enduring Wounds' is the 11th volume in Gloria L. Velásquez's Roosevelt High School Series.
6
Compost tea can help battle powdery mildew
Arts
One of my reference books, 'The ... One of my reference books, 'The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control,' suggests that you can make your own compost tea ...
7
SITE Santa Fe awarded National Endowment for the Arts ...
Arts
The grant will support the upcoming ... The grant will support the upcoming exhibition, 'Going With the Flow: Art, Actions and Western Waters,' opening on April 14.
8
Santa Fe student selected to magazine's Junior Council
Arts
Viviana Garcia-Vélez, 11, chosen out of ... Viviana Garcia-Vélez, 11, chosen out of hundreds of applicants by weekly youth news publication The Week Junior.
9
Xeric Garden Club to host lecture
Arts
The Xeric Garden Club of Albuquerque ... The Xeric Garden Club of Albuquerque will hosting Laurel Ladwig as she speaks on the topic 'Share Space with Wildlife with a Backyard Refuge.'