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Fine Art of Contemporary Craft II opens at Sanibel's Watson MacRae January 7

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Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel asks the historic question “is it art or is it craft?” with its next exhibit, The Fine Art of Contemporary Craft II. Opening Tuesday, January 7, the exhibit will present the work of seven artists working in the field of contemporary craft today.

When evaluating whether works in clay, glass, textiles, wood or paper qualify as fine arts or crafts, critics, gallery owners and collectors often apply a mix of criteria such as functionality, medium, and methodology. The line between the two is becoming harder to delineate, as the work in January’s exhibit demonstrates, but seeing is believing when it comes to the seven artists whose work is included in this show:

  1. Akiko Sugiyama (Ormond Beach, FL) uses only paper to create astounding abstract sculptures inspired by nature. People may remember Sugiyama’s work from last year's exhibit, which sold-out. This year, Sugiyama will be attending the opening and will give an artist’s talk on Wednesday.
  2. Maia Tsinamdzgvrishvili (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia) creates wondrous silk creations. They were a huge hit at BIG ARTS, where she exhibited them last March opposite Marcus Jansen's Expressionism Today: Urban, Socio-Political Paintings. While Maia is regrets being unable to be at the opening, she has sent new work inspired by her time on Sanibel.
  3. Melisa Cadell (Bakersville, NC) is trained in sculpture, painting and ceramics, which she adroitly combines with her experiences as a youth missionary to evocatively depict the character of her women.
  4. Claire Prenton (Cincinnati, OH) creates elegant shell-designed porcelain tableware inspired by her love of nature, her British heritage and the grandeur and history of the ornately decorated pottery and architecture with which she grew up.
  5. Vicki Grant (Atlanta, GA) is an accomplished architect, which is reflected in the ceramic work that she builds around natural found objects, then layers, textures and mounts on slate.
  6. Emerging artist, Anja Bartells (Asheville, NC) hails from Germany, where visits to the North Sea so influenced her that in the mountains she creates jellyfish, sea urchins and starfish in porcelain.
  7. Jason Bige Barnett (Bakersville, NC) is gaining national recognition for his unusual surface treatment on his clay pieces. Using image transfer and silkscreen, scenes of '50s childhood enliven his tableware.

The opening reception takes place Tuesday, January, from 5-7 p.m. Akiko and Anja are making the trip to Sanibel, and Akiko will be giving a talk on her work on Wednesday, January 8 at 10:30. Watson MacRae Gallery is located at Suite B3, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957. For more information, please telephone 239-472-3386.

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