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Exhibition Details

SHIFT: What is the work of art?
12th January - 16th February 2013

What do we think about craft? Is there a difference between an arty piece of craft and a crafty piece of art? SHIFT is a new programme of exhibitions and events that aims to explore ideas about “craft” and its relationship with contemporary art.

“All dictionary definitions aside, craft’s horizons appear to merge with other ideas about art, design, technology, the romance of rural handicraft, even performance and spectacle. This debate is especially pertinent to the Black Swan, as at its very heart - the artists’ workshops” Kim Wood - Curator

SHIFT opened on Friday January 11th to a packed house. The gallery was so full that latecomers had to stand just outside to listen to the short talk by Dr Johanna Dahn, Senior Lecturer in Critical Studies in Art and Design at the Bath School of Art and Design. The courtyard was warmed with the glow of a hot glass furnace where KT Yun, (recently featured on Kevin McCLoud’s Man Made Home for Channel Four) worked this beguiling and magical material to a lively audience.

The show runs until February 16th and features both local and internationally acclaimed artists whose work sits on the fluid boundaries between what could be perceived of as ‘art’ and ‘craft’. On Saturdays the curator will be in the gallery and available for discussion, alongside the artist Alison Harper whose interactive textile piece 'Work in Progress' forms part of the show. Visitors are encouraged to add to the work by knitting, unpicking, reworking or adding pieces. On show:

  • Max Jacquard’s extraordinary life-sized human figure Albion: Green Man is made of recycled bottle glass stitched together with bronze wire. Its simple, light-drenched, almost effortless form is also an incredibly labour intensive feat of engineering. A sister piece forms part of the V&A's contemporary glass collection and is on permanent display there.
  • Meryl Ainslie’s tiny silver surface casts that re-present cracks and knots, details of places and things that convey a sense of personal legacy and value. They are hugely evocative and produced through a refined and meticulous process.
  • Tom Bayliss’ work explores the world of the hobbyist model maker, a realm of near obsessive recreation of physical monuments in miniature scale using traditional materials.
  • Anne Gibbs: Having moved from printmaking to ceramics, Anne Gibbs brings a particular sensibility to her work in clay and her assemblages of delicate bone china and found or natural materials can be compared to the elements of her drawing, deconstructed and re-presented in three dimensions. The work on show won a gold medal at the 2012 Eisteddfod.
  • Alison Harper takes what we might think of as ‘waste’ and reworks it into interactive textile sculpture using yarn recycled from foil crisp packets. She deconstructs, unpicks and reworks the yarn using low-tech domestic techniques such as knitting and crochet.The wall pieces made especially for this show may be reworked by visitors to the show.
  • KT Yun peformed hot glassblowing at the opening night event. Glass as a material is magical and beguiling and no more so than in its liquid state.

    Mirka Golden-Hann, Mark Bishop and Carrie Madgwick. We are delighted to have the opportunity to show a new collaborative ceramic dance and film installation. The work centres around a ceramic “Greek Urn” vessel by Mirka Golden-Hann onto which a dance choreopgraphed by Carrie Madgwick and filmed by Mark Bishop is projected using 3d mapping. Kate Rattray’s short video piece ‘Storm’ uses animation to bring to life her mosaic works. Mosaic almost by definition abstracts what it represents and Kate uses this to stunning effect as she reflects upon the natural world and elemental forces within it.

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