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For Immediate Release
February 16, 2001
Contact: Christina Newton, Director

Artspace Presents Contemporary Crafts Exhibition to Coincide with SNAG Conference

RICHMOND, VA – Artspace Gallery, located at 6 East Broad Street in downtown Richmond, is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibit Similar Differences: Four Object Makers, featuring the work of artists, Karl Burkheimer, John Rais, Felicia Szorad and Travis Townsend. The public is invited to an Opening Reception on Friday, March 2 from 7-9 pm. The exhibit will close on Friday, March 30, 2001. Artspace is open Wednesday – Sunday, from 12 - 4pm.

"Similar Differences: Four Object Makers" coincides with the upcoming (SNAG) Society of North American Goldsmiths Annual Conference, which will be held at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, VA, February 28- March 3, 2001. Artspace will join in the citywide offering of contemporary craft or metal arts shows that will be occurring during the conference. An exciting array of three-dimensional works comes to the galleries of Artspace in its first all contemporary craft exhibition.

Four artists bring their unique styles together to define, and question, the "object" and its usefulness. They approach their media from a craft background while pushing their work from this traditional category to contemporary art. They will present sets of objects that are disparate in their making as well as in their creative expression. And the viewers own assemblage of objects make this display all that more reason for investigation.

Karl Burkheimer’s clean wooden creations speak of furniture making, yet are vague in their function. They reference the need to organize a collection, or storage, of objects. His works resemble the painter’s easel but yet is a large box that categorizes the smaller box, repeating the esoteric habit of collecting or cataloging. This VCU Crafts Department professor was recently seen at Eric Schindler Gallery’s popular "Functional Diversity I & II." He received his MFA from VCU, and has studied at the Penland School of Crafts and abroad in Germany. He has received numerous teaching scholarships and has exhibited nationally.

Woodworker, Travis Townsend, also creates containers but his are illogical and playful. They play off the functionality of tools, appliances and toys. They grow from redrawn sketches, sometimes actually visible on the piece, and are reworked and pieced together to create humorous non-utilitarian inventions. Townsend is currently an apprentice at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. He also received his MFA from VCU. He has exhibited and taught nationally, and has received numerous awards and residencies as well.

A different kind of container maker is New Jersey artist, John Rais. His metalwork balances on a basket form and trap. His art objects offer a comparison between an implied function (such as to dig or pour), and the actual intent, (to open or to hold.) He is owner of John Rais Studios, in Layton, New Jersey. He received his MFA in Metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is included in extensive collections. Rais has exhibited nationally, and has lectured on the topics of metal arts for the last five years.

And lastly, metal artist, Felicia Szorad, creates enameled hats and jewelry, based on her interest in decoration and adornment. Her experiences as a woman, and the expectations from society, motivate this investigation. She has also formed a body of work comprised of small figurative metal sculptures. The dark metals, rough textures resembling folds or bindings, with the absence of arms and faces are balanced by a use of brilliant color and design. The figures are not unlike actual women. They are beautiful and empowered, yet confined and incomplete. Szorad is currently a studio apprentice at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. She received her MFA from East Carolina University in North Carolina. She has also exhibited nationally and locally.


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