Image courtesy Tasha Lewis
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 6 | 6 – 8 PM
On View: October 6 – December 4
The Philadelphia Art Alliance is pleased to announce its fall 2016 exhibition A Curious Nature, which presents the work of four artists who employ craft-based processes and materials that examine the relationship between humans and nature, and between the artificial and the hand made. Combining fiber with other craft-based materials (ceramics, installation, and photography) A Curious Nature features the work of Caitlin McCormack, Linda Cordell, Tasha Lewis, and Emily White.
This exhibition is part of the citywide initiative Craft Now Philadelphia. Craft NOW unites the leading institutions and artists of Philadelphia’s craft community in a celebration of the city’s rich legacy of craft, its internationally-recognized contemporary craft scene, and its important role as an incubator for arts based in wood, clay, fiber, metal and glass. Through both creating and spotlighting events during the week of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Craft NOW invites locals and visitors alike to explore Philadelphia’s innovations in the world of the handmade.
This exhibition embraces the recent resurgence of animal studies and the inclusion of nature as part of cultural studies and the humanities, giving it fresh relevance within the visual arts. Theorists have begun to dismantle the animal/human dichotomy that has been inherited from the Enlightenment and the philosophical ideas of Descartes and Kant. This “Animal Moment” in the 21st century aims to disrupt the anthropocentric underpinnings of traditional portrayals of animals. The artists in A Curious Nature all reflect this radical rethinking of the animal world. As works of art set apart from natural surroundings, their creations call into question how we have traditionally perceived animals and insects,and promote dialogue about the relationship of humans to nature through contemporary craft. Whether real or imaginary, domestic or exotic, each artist references science, anatomy, and biology in their work to offer new perspectives on familiar creatures. A Curious Nature also exemplifies a new trend in contemporary craft that has emerged in the last decade: unorthodox combinations of craft traditions. Each artist engages in techniques and materials from multiple craft disciplines, combining them with fine arts practices to transcend the traditional categories of fiber, ceramics, glass, and metal and to include post-disciplinary practices that also utilize photography and installation art.
Support for A Curious Nature is provided by The Coby Foundation.