HANDMADE focuses on two distinguished practices that reveal the potential of the hand and its gestures in creating objects and images that invite contemplation. In the artworks exhibited, the hand is present as a trace, subject and/or metaphor. The interplay of forms, concepts, and the expressive qualities of these works are brought to light before the viewer when they are juxtaposed in the gallery space.
Anna Strickland’s Given series of photographs depicts hands of the artist’s friends, who were asked to hold for the camera their favorite natural objects, in the gesture of offering. Through the angle of shooting, which is above the objects in the sitters’ palms, these seemingly ordinary items become offerings gently displayed to the viewer, through the gesture that transforms quotidian into the exquisite. Given metaphorically speaks of the enjoyment in simple and most ordinary things in life – the thought present in Buddhism, which is Strickland’s major inspiration. The particular, complex photographic technique of palladium is renowned for showing refined variations in light and tonal gradations enhanced by being applied to hand-made gampi paper and also by painterly qualities achieved through the pigment application of the gum-bichromate process. In Strickland’s work, this technique underlines the artist’s lyrical approach to the subject and delivers ethereal and contemplative imagery.
Rudolph Serra’s approach to art making might be described as the transformation of the earthly material of clay into organic, animated forms whose movement is temporarily suspended. “Growing up in San Francisco near the ocean, early impressions were made by the harsh weather’s impact on the long stretch of beach nearby. The beach would change from a large, horizontal plain to high dunes, to deep tidal pools carved by the back wash of rip currents.” By engaging with the material usually associated with craft, Serra returns clay to its purest form. Oxygen-reduction firing at extremely high temperatures results in sculptures that are varied in color because the inherent qualities of the clay body are pulled to the surface of each sculpture. The artist’s processes of forming and firing the clay lead to constant experimentation with shapes, lines and volumes. Serra’s objects can be seen as three-dimensional drawings. Their folds and contours of rough and smooth surfaces correspond to ongoing transformations in our natural landscapes.