Artists Conversations

Yesterday I went to the first of three artist’s talks offered by the State Museum in Harrisburg in conjunction with the Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2011 exhibition.  Alan Paulson, a Gettysburg artist, and Robert Stadnycki, executive director of the Greater Harrisburg Arts Council, walked us through the exhibit giving their takes on the work and exhibit as a whole.

The talk was very informal and they encouraged us to view it as a conversation and to participate.  I did my part by talking about the art vs. craft debate (like I said before, it never dies.)  So we went over and talked about my bowl a little.  Other than that aside, it was interesting seeing the exhibit through two other artists’ eyes.

Memory & Shadow ©2011 bronze, nickel

I also got to meet some other visitors and artists who came to the talk.  The museum educational outreach coordinator (I believe that was her title), Beth Hager, was there and encouraged us to participate in the ongoing community art project they have in the Idea Zone.  It’s mostly geared toward families and kids, but it was still fun to make my collage tile to be added to their wall.

All in all I had a good time and definitely want to try and make it to the other two talks – August 14th at 2pm with Robert Stickloon and Maxine Gaiber, and September 11th at 1pm (in conjunction with the Harrisburg Gallery Walk) with Lydia Panas and Ricardo Viera.  I have two free admission tickets to the Museum, so if you want to go to the August talk, let me know.  The first person to contact me can have the pair.  The September talk in on a free admission day.

3 thoughts on “Artists Conversations

  1. Wendy, I’ve been following your posts about the Art of the State show. My wife and I much enjoyed your snazzy Super Bowl at the opening. I read about the art vs. craft conundrum in your own work and artistic identity, and I was wondering if you have an opinion about my work in the show, “Atlas.” It was the second prize winner in the craft category and it features “instructions” on how to make a relief sculpture in paper mache, my favored material. I entered in the craft category, but I thought this might create some controversy. Maybe the judge agreed with me that artistic categories are clumsy and problematic, thus the endorsement. In any case, if you have a reaction to my tongue-in-cheek, craftsperson’s “How-to, ” I’d love to hear it.


    1. Ha ha ha, a glutton for punishment, eh? No seriously, your piece does bring up a lot of questions about what is art and what is craft. Technically it is 3d paper (though very low relief) but it depicts a comic book style illustrative work. So which is it? It’s like the other piece in the exhibit – a photograph entered as a work on paper. Technically photos are both, so why not enter it in that category? I don’t know where to stand on it. I wouldn’t have considered your piece craft if not prompted to, but mostly because it seemed more “arty” to me. I wouldn’t consider it “fine craft” but maybe it’s in line with the “alt craft” movement, more irreverent and showing us that sometimes the fine craft world can be a bit stuffy. Mostly I think I feel this way because it isn’t functional but more conceptual. You’d probably have a problem in the art world deciding if it was sculpture or some other art form. Bas relief is in that no man’s land between 2d and 3d art. It definitely makes you think about the whole debate. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting here. It’s great getting a different point of view. And congratulations on your award!


  2. Thanks for your thoughtful response. Functional is a nebulous term for me, as it may be for you when you craft a bowl with holes in it. Perhaps it’s good enough to express the form of a functional object even if the practicality is doubtful. My piece is in the form of a practical guide and represents 3d collage as a useful and recognizable form, which it isn’t. One element that’s present in it is the ultimate uselessness of behaviorally specific instructions. In Western culture art is inseparable from the subjective and mysteriously personal. I wonder if pure craft isn’t stripped of these enigmas. Bon chance!


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