Mardi Gras dancing polymer

Laura Tabakman wins the prize and gets the party started with her Mardi Gras on

Pennsylvania’s Laura Tabakman won both Best of Show Members’ Choice and
Best of Show Jurors’ Choice prizes in this year’s IPCA Awards competition. 

Entitled Mardi Gras, Laura’s pieces are carefully balanced so that the slightest breeze brings the party swaying to life.

The 16 separate units each have delicate polymer vessels 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ tall which are suspended on steel wires drilled into islands made of flooring material.

The units take up a 20″ x 16″ x 9″ space but the grouping can be reconfigured in many different ways.

Over at StudioMojo, we take a closer look at these and other outstanding works that inspire us. Plus we’ll cover tools, trends, and classes aimed at nurturing your creative spirit and pursuing your unique and crazy ideas. 

Roll the dice

Alev Gozonar - QBo installation

“I cross my fingers for your and my country,” Istanbul’s Alev Gozonar wrote to me this week as we all brace for change.

Alev’s response to the serious tension in Turkey has been to create art for the Contemporary Istanbul 2016 show last weekend. One hundred large pieces covered in polymer are required for a game Alev calls Q-Bo. Click on the photos for the scale of Alev’s 100 installation pieces.

Alev Gozonar - polymer game installation

The tongue-in-cheek game reduces tension and boredom. It’s perfect for the US election day. Roll the dice and hope for the best. There’s more on Facebook and Alev’s site.

Remember that there are others all over the world in turmoil. An art project is often an effective outlet for stress.

Moving the furniture

Tabakman on PCDaily

Viewers at the Carthage College exhibit said that Laura Tabakman’s installation made them feel good. They described it as a meadow or a wildflower garden. The thin wires on which the flowers were mounted swayed gently as people walked by. The effect was calming, delicate, meditative and cheery.

One flower bed was tucked against the walls near the gallery entrance. A second free-standing patch of flowers created a path that guided visitors into and through the meadow.

How did she do it? Her in-process photos gathered here show how Laura moved all the furniture out of her living room to try the piece out in her Pittsburgh home. She’s used to moving the furniture. Take a look at some of her previous works.

Re-visioning polymer

Toops on PCDaily

Peek at the polymer exhibit that began this week at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. The opening reception for Re-Visioning: New Works in Polymer at the H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art will be held next Thursday, September 18.

Gallery staff have posted snapshots of the works on Facebook as they arrived to get us excited.

Laura Tabakman’s On the Trail is a delicate installation of a field of blossoms that emerge from the floor and climb one wall.

You can see her sitting on the gallery floor arranging every petal in what turned out to be a 15-hour operation. She says of the show, “OMG, don’t miss it!”

Here you see Cynthia Toops’ So Much Yarn, So Little Time which includes tiny knitting needles that pierce one of the balls of imitative yarn wound in Cynthia’s fastidious micro style. At one time or another all knitters and artists have shared the sentiment of the piece.

Re-Visioning on PCDaily

The event is being held in conjunction with an October polymer symposium, labs, and (in)Organic exhibit at the nearby Racine Art Museum.

The first college level polymer studio class was launched last year at Carthage College. Professor Diane Levesque taught the class and curates this exhibit.

Unknown specimens

“Borrowing from the familiar forms of fungus, lichen, and mold, I invent and sculpt fictional organisms that graft onto manufactured domestic objects and infest the nooks and crannies of architectural spaces. Challenging notions of synthetic and organic, real and imagined, these sculptures and installations allude that through the passage of time these spaces and objects will become overtaken,” says Texan Jasmyne Grabill of her mixed media sculptures which rely heavily on polymer for their organic appeal.

Jasmyne’s works were featured in the luscious August/September issue of American Craft. In an article called Fungus Among Us, Monica Moses tracks this visual theme and finds fungus-themed works in metal, paper, fiber and food.

As I read the article my mind automatically started listing other examples of this trend that you may already know. Let’s see: Melanie West, Rachel Gourley, Kim Cavender, Ronna Weltman, Laura Tabakman, Wendy Malinow, Kathleen Dustin, Angelika Arendt, Jillian Moore. And that’s just for starters!

Send me your candidates and I’ll compile a list to send to the editor. ACC should know what we’ve been growing in the PCDaily laboratory.