Thursday, January 27, 2011

When is a chair not a chair?

At a recent gallery opening at The Art Institute of York, PA, I was amazed to see how the mind can take an object that we utilize every day and turn it into something quite out of the ordinary. The creative process is a very personal experience. The hard part is to be wiling to show the results to the world.  With artists, art can lay the soul bare - out for all to see, to judge. And that is where the "personal" comes in. Creativity draws on all types of experiences - ingrained, learned and percieved.

The amount of thought, time and work put into  these pieces is astounding.  And may I add that these pieces were all created by the instructors of the Art Institute from the Interior Desgin Department.  One piece, a handbag, was knitted from the caning of a chair. The designer and knitter in residence, Ora Bentz, relayed how her hands became raw and the hours that it took to finish the piece. Instead of throwing those calloused hands up she persevered, and the "purse" hangs in all its' glory.

Keith McCleary, Department Head of both Interior Design and Fashion Departments, took another route in redesigning the function of a chair with a combination of a chess board and ornamentation, including a portrait on the backrest of the chair. Not a detail is overlooked, and the chair is defined by its' meticulous presentation.

So when is a chair not a chair? When a single thought blooms into many possibilities.  Possibilities that represent a collective group as well as an individual. Possibilities that are translated from the minds and hands of teachers. Teachers that show why the arts should be a part of our classrooms. 

To expand possibilies though personal interpretation is a wonderful thing. Celebration of a simple object may seem like a simple task, but these teachers took that celebration and turned it into art. 

The show runs until the 25th of Feb. Most of the items are for sale (a binder with bidding pages for all of the entries that are for sale is located in the gallery reception desk). Any funds generated from the sale will go to the Jackie Hirneisen Scholarship Fund for a student at the Ai York campus.

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