Exhibition Dates: May 5 to June 24, 2023
The Art of Alchemy is a juried exhibition of 75 original artworks by 31 artists from California, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. The exhibition is co-curated by Elizabeth Brincklow and Mary Childs bringing their strong backgrounds, experiences and reputations as art leaders and visionaries to the show.
“Alchemy is the magical process of transforming or combining elements into something new and extraordinary,” says Mary Childs. “The essential artforms of ceramic, glass, fiber, metals, and wood have evolved with us to our present day, defining our culture and iterations as human beings.”
Elizabeth Brincklow adds, “Art is alchemy not only through its medium and technical aspects, but also in the biochemical reactions that it elicits from people who interact with it physiologically, neurologically, and psychologically. The Alchemy of Art encompasses the creator, the fabrication, the object, and the viewer.”
Upcoming programming for the exhibition includes a celebration of Pride and discussion of resources offered by Metro Health on Wednesday, June 14, at 6 p.m., an automaton demonstration by Chomick+Meder on the May 13 ArtWalk from 6 to 8 p.m., and a curators’ talk on Saturday, June 24 at 4 p.m.
The exhibition was judged by Christine Renc Carter, the Executive Director of the Leepa Rattner Museum in Tarpon Springs, Florida. She says, “It was a thrill to spend time judging the exhibition. Many artists explored science, math, and technology through the various mediums of fine craft.”
Best of Show was awarded to James Allen and Eric Hilton for a glass sculpture “Tides of Time.” Eric sculpted a glass panel with flowing forms and graceful curves that invite the viewer’s gaze on a journey through the abstract landscape of the glass and the ever-changing imagery within. Behind the glass is a computer monitor on which James has created a dynamic panorama of moving images that wind through and around and insinuate themselves into the landscape of the glass. Like the seasons and the tides, these images never repeat themselves exactly, but are constantly generated anew by custom software James developed explicitly for this piece.
First Place went to Natalie Tyler for a glass sculpture titled “Eagle’s Nest.” She says, “I am inspired by the cycles of life within nature, the birth, life, death and regeneration. Using glass and bronze, I capture ephemeral moments in time, and preserve the story for our future.”
Nick Reale received Second Place for a dynamic wooden chair titled “The Float.” He was inspired by a “tension table” that he saw, and designed a leg-free chair that is both scientific and magical.
Third Place was awarded to Erik and Martin Demaine for “Fire Curls,” an intricate sculpture folded from watercolor paper. Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine are a father-son math-art team. Martin started the first private hot-glass studio in Canada and has been called the father of Canadian glass. Since 2005, Martin Demaine has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Erik is also at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a professor in computer science. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. In these capacities, Erik and Martin work together in paper, glass, and other material. They use their exploration in sculpture to help visualize and understand unsolved problems in science, and their scientific abilities to inspire new art forms.
Honorable mentions were given to Chomick and Meder, Melissa Fair, Leeann Kroetsch, P.A. Kushner, and Wayne Strattman.
The Director’s Award for an art quilt titled “Saying the Magic Words” was given to Bobbi Baugh who said, “I make storytelling the heart of my quilts because stories are magic. Given a glimpse, a story fragment, the viewer longs to enter the scene and know more. And then viewers insert their own experiences and emotions into the story.”
The exhibition was made possible with sponsorship from Kathryn Howd and Edward Rucks, Jones & Dunn Legacy Group Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, and Duncan McClellan Gallery. The show runs through June 24, when the People’s Choice Award will be presented. People can vote for their favorite work of art in the Florida CraftArt Exhibition Gallery. Docent tours are available upon request. Florida CraftArt has published a book on the show with images and biographies of the artists. It is available on www.FloridaCraftArt.org.
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,500-square-foot retail gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent exhibition gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.