Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is delighted to present the 10th edition of In Residence, an annual exhibition celebrating its Artist Residency Program, which has supported makers in the field of craft for more than 16 years. This exhibition features work by 10 artists working in ceramic, fiber, metal, wood, and mixed media: Jessica Andersen, Rebecca Braziel, Vivian Chiu, Lisa Hardaway, Rebecca Lynn Hewitt, Amber Smith, Anthony Sonnenberg, Eric Stearns, Jenna Wright, and Shiyuan Xu.
The Artist Residency Program at HCCC provides resident artists with a space for creative exploration, exchange, and collaboration with other artists, professionals in the field, and the public. In their open studios, residents are able to engage with visitors as they work and explain the processes behind their craft practices. Though they develop individual bodies of work during their tenures, the collegiality of the program often fosters lines of collective inspiration. HCCC Curatorial Fellow, Sarah Darro, notes, “This iteration of In Residence features meticulously conceived works that are inscribed with tradition and historical reference, yet are thoroughly contemporary in their content.”
Anthony Sonnenberg creates sculptural assemblages that incorporate salvaged textiles, silk flowers, and porcelain figurines. He constructs his ceramic works by coating found objects in porcelain slip. Then, through a process of kiln firing, the detail, texture, and form of each piece become vitrified, while the original object is incinerated. Sonnenberg’s florid, opulent works visually and materially reference historical periods of decadence, such as ancient Greek Bacchanalia or Baroque decorative art, to address contemporary anxieties over identity, consumption, and overabundance.
Rebecca Braziel and Jessica Andersen recontextualize and transform discarded objects and detritus, from vintage gloves and baby shoes that retain marks of wear and use to littered cans and plastic bags that cling to coastlines. Braziel conceives of the objects that she salvages as collaborators, using their life histories as the subject matter of her practice. Through both reductive and additive means, she is a mark maker, systematically covering surfaces in layers of stitched, stapled, and cut lines, which read as swathes of gestural movement and texture. Andersen, on the other hand, alchemically transforms discarded plastic bags. Through a process of electroforming and enameling, she captures their malleability, folds, and wrinkles–reminiscent of skin and drapery–in copper.
Vivian Chiu and Shiyuan Xu build complex, labor-intensive sculptures, using repetitive layers of cut wood and porcelain paper clay. Chiu’s geometric, maze-like sculptures investigate the macro- and micro- spheres of labor, suppression, and identity. Her optical works beckon exploration and movement from the viewer, as they transform when viewed from different angles. Xu’s ceramic work, alternatively, is built to reference the microscopic structures of organisms related to the origin of life, from seeds to micro-algae and single-celled protozoa. The strength of paper clay allows her to construct the spindly, vaulted cells of her structures, while her experimentation with glazes references their potential growth as they expand, foam, crystallize, and drip in the kiln.
Rebecca Lynn Hewitt’s jewelry reflects on ecological concerns and the dissemination of both environmental knowledge and botanical species. Her wearable pieces serve as reliquaries for pressed flowers and seeds. Jenna Wright’s ceramic sculptures investigate the landscape of sprawling, suburban environments and manicured interior and exterior spaces. Amber Marie Smith’s ceramic work, alternatively, explores the idea of home and how it can change through the distortion of memories that occurs after moving and over time. Eric Stearns is known for his intricately pierced Raku vessels that experiment with interior space and form. Lisa Hardaway’s illustrative, patterned textiles are woven from hand-spun and dyed wool and incorporate techniques from Native American traditions, early American weaving, and English rug-making.