MEMBERS SHOW & RECENT ACQUISITIONS STRENGTHEN COLLECTION
There are any number of shifting elements that contribute to the longterm success of a non-profit art institution, including endowments and fund raising, devoted trustees and staff, public interest and support, and forward-thinking curatorship. One of the two most important pillars of a museum may be the membership, providing not only financial support through the collection of dues, but also offering input, contributing to discourse and promoting patronage. The other significant pillar is the collection itself, which must continue to grow and evolve while maintaining true to the mission of the institution.
The Fuller Craft Museum has recently mounted two significant showings, one devoted to member-artists, “The 2014 Biennial Members Exhibition,” and “Crafting A Collection,” highlighting recent acquisitions. Clearly, while there are common threads between the two exhibitions, each remains distinctive in its focus while highlighting the works of a staggering array of artisans and artists.
The “2014 Biennial Members Exhibition” was juried by Arthur Dion, the director of Gallery NAGA in Boston, and his smart and eclectic selections include the usual craft museum media suspects — woodworking, fiber arts, metalsmithing and ceramics — and also painting, drawing, photography and kinetic sculpture. There are offerings by 47 artists.
Alan Weinstein’s “Kong” is a pedestalmounted, sad-faced gorilla, carved from black marble. In this instance, the mythical Hollywood great ape’s Fay Wray is realized as a Barbie doll, and as he clutches her in his massive paw-hand, his pout and slouch of resignation remind us that beauty has, indeed, killed the beast — at least metaphorically.
“Knockabout” by David A. Lang is odd and enchanting. Nineteen small antique bottles that have held medicine or syrup are partially clear, part chalky white, leaning toward powdery blue. They are set in a crude pine box, and as if by magic, the bottles swerve, bow and dance.
Made of terracotta, porcelain and copper luster, Dan Molyneux’s “Forgive Me Daughter for I Have Sinned” creates an unknowable fairy tale. The components that make up the work are evocative. A man, carrying a lamb across his shoulders and wearing a medievallooking tunic, approaches a sinewy and twisted skyscraper. Atop a turret, a young pigtailed girl in a pretty dress and Mary Janes looks the other way and plays a clarinet. Metallic-coated chess pieces further complicate the story, and one realizes the answers need not be spelled out to appreciate the mystery.
Linda DiFrenna’s “Behind the Screen” is also enveloped with enigma. Mounted on the wall, gold-colored tightmesh screen covers black-and-white photographs of blindfolded women, but whether they are hostages, kinky participants in an erotic game or murky embodiments of Justice is unclear.