A R T I S T S
This Spring / Summer, Mary MacGill Studio is pleased to present the works of four artists
spanning different mediums: photography, glassware, collage, and sculpture. Their collective
work explores a reverence for the artistic process and their chosen materials. Works will be on
view in our Germantown space from May 5, to September 2018.
The woman behind ANK ceramics is Ariela Kuh, a dedicated ceramicist working out of Lincolnville, ME. Her hand-crafted pieces are each turned on the wheel or hand-built, trimmed, sanded, and fired in an electric kiln. Her glazes are all mixed carefully in small batches.
Ariela has been called a “quiet trendsetter”; she works for herself, and has produced tableware for Hugo’s in Portland, Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport and Momofuku Ko in New York City.
Mary MacGill Studio currently represents ANK's one-of-a-kind vessels ranging from 5 inches to 2 feet tall and inspired by ancient Greek craters. Of her recent work, Ariela explains, “Lately, I have been looking at ancient Roman Glass bottles, George Ohr, the“mad potter of Biloxi,” and Matt Connor’s paintings, to name a few things.”
Are Studio bags are handmade in Los Angeles, CA. The brand was established by LA based designer Cecilia Bordarampé in 2012, who has a background in art and design. Are Studio specializes in capsule collections of clothing and leather bags that are minimal, utilitarian, and have an eye towards environmental consciousness. The leather they use for their bags is a by-product of the meat industry which otherwise would have been thrown away, and they source as much of their material and labor as they can locally from inside Los Angeles. Each leather hide is unique, so no two bags look exactly the same. The leather also ages beautifully with use, becoming soft and supple, and yet still supportive enough to last you a lifetime.
Black Crane director, Alexander Yamaguchi, and designer, Momo Suzuki, believe in clothing that is easy to wear, comfortable, and functional for a daily basis, with a focus on providing a silhouette that is complimentary to a variety of figures and body types. Alexander and Momoko are inspired by their Japanese roots, as well as implementing ethical practices into their line. They’re committed to creating and making everything in Los Angeles, where they are based, in support of their local community.
Brookes Boswell founded her label in 2012 after an apprenticeship with one of New York City’s longtime milliners. Her background in architectural design, fine art and textiles gave Brookes a keen eye for precision, and an appreciation for the handmade aspects of the milliner trade. Her studio is in Portland, OR, where she and her team hand block and individually construct each hat, creating a product that mixes functionality with a classic aesthetic.
“I’m inspired and attempt to design for functionality. Other than the obvious reason that modern women are concerned with sun protection and comfort, I feel that we’re also becoming increasingly concerned with not just quality of our possessions but the maker behind the piece, especially in regards to accessories. Accessories are becoming a more important part of our wardrobe and women want to know the story behind each piece, as if they were pieces of art or are collectible, and tied to our identity. Though I make no claim to my hats being works of art or collectible (they’re neither) I think they do fit into my wardrobe of a woman who likes a story behind her accessories.”
Claire Oswalt is an artist working across many mediums- she is a painter, a sculptor, and a collage artist, with forays into drawing, textiles, and graphic design. She recently moved back to her hometown of Austin, TX after long stints in New York and LA, a move that was necessitated by her growing need for space, both as an artist, and a mother of two young sons. “In essence, the move was truly about finding space to reclaim myself—my memories, my interests, my values—in order to make better work.”
Her artistic process reflects this interest in space, in seeing how the givens of a certain situation play out and inform the result. She trusts her materials to an endearing degree— making watercolors, ripping them up, and then letting the scraps decide where they should go. “Each piece really dictates itself, I don’t have that much control over it. I’m moving pieces, but in each one, I don’t have a plan. It’s its own discovery…it’s me showing up just to be there with the work and seeing how it evolves organically on the paper.” Her work, perhaps due to this process, has an energy that’s both refined and spontaneous, careful and spacious. And this language of juxtaposition when describing her work is common. This lack of definition, of overt meaning, which is clearly common when viewing or describing Claire’s work, is a testament to the vitality of her pieces- or perhaps to the truth of her collaboration with her materials.
When responding to what creativity means to her, Claire’s response was: “Committing to a process long enough to watch the fragile bud of an idea grow, wind, and expand into a new one.”
D. BRYANT ARCHIE
Working with women-run cooperatives in Guatemala and Peru, textile designer D. Bryant Archie creates gorgeous handmade alpaca blankets and pillows. Bryant has traveled extensively to first seek out, and then establish respectful relationships with the makers themselves, as part of the movement for fair and dependable wages. D.'s work is a meticulous product of artistic, intelligent design, a deep understanding of color, and centuries-old, indigenous techniques.
Her initial inspiration for the company came to her on her honeymoon in Morocco in 2005. “I woke up one of the mornings I was in Marrakech with the idea of starting with blankets. I saw blankets not only as textile fiber, but to also have an intellectual component to them, much like art has a component of intellectual thought and expression. It made sense to me. From there I started to focus on finding people to work with; I especially wanted to work with artisans and I was open to different places of the world.”
Deborah Ehrlich is a Hudson Valley glassware, furniture and lighting designer. Her paper-thin glassware is instantly recognizable for its simplicity and the efficacy of its proportions- a feat which she says comes from working “very, very slowly…. [I’m] just connecting dots on a piece of paper trying to find the most beautiful proportion.” Her artistic training, like her process, was unconventional and wholly her own; she received a degree in anthropology from Barnard College, and then moved to Ft. Thomas, KY, to study under master sculptor Mike Skop. After that, Deborah traveled through Europe, studying design at The Danish Design School in Copenhagen, and helping to restore the stained glass of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.
Deborah’s crystal work is the result of a collaboration with master craftsmen in Sweden, who make glass from her designs out of non-lead Swedish crystal. She designs in her Hudson Valley home, and also takes frequent trips to Sweden to check in with her partners. Recent collaborations with renowned hardware manufacturer E.R. Butler and Stone Barns have yielded ethereal, flickering lighting and an exquisite collection of glasses and wine decanters.
Demy Lee first launched her eponymous sweater line in 2007, after studying at Parsons School of Design and working at Calvin Klein and GAP Inc. Her first line was a collection of premium cashmere, and has since grown to include cut & sewn knit and woven essentials for women, as well as a men’s collection. Her work is luxurious, versatile, and fills a niche in the industry for classic yet current knits.
She says of her inspiration, “I wanted to design what I appreciated most in my own closet. Something I reached for everyday, sweaters.” She works out of her design studio in New York City, where she also raises her two daughters.
JoAnn Verburg is a world-renowned photographer best known for her life-size transportive diptychs and triptychs, which she shoots with a large format camera. JoAnn grew up in northern New Jersey and shot her first roll of film when she was six, developing a passion that was encouraged by her family. She studied sociology at Ohio Wesleyan University and then went on to work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1972 to 1974. She earned her M.A. in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976, and served for two years as an intern at the George Eastman House where she was exposed to its extensive collection of photographs, including vintage work in “every photographic process and printing medium.” While at grad school, a friend showed her “The Americans,” by Robert Frank, a poignant photographic catalogue of American life in the 1950’s shot while driving across the US. The book changed Verburg’s relationship to the medium: “I had always thought of art as drawing and painting and sculpture. It was the first time I realized that photography could be art.”
JoAnn moved in 1983 from Boston, where she had run an artists program for Polaroid, to Minneapolis, where she has lived since. She and her husband also spend extended periods of time in Florida and Italy, the latter of which has been a great source of inspiration for her work. She began taking pictures of olive trees near a home they rented there, which eventually became the project “Exploding Triptych, 2000”.
“I let myself go where my impulses draw me, and although I don’t end up printing much of what I shoot, pictures often lead to other pictures. Every time I went to the olive orchards, I felt that it was my job to try to figure out how not to know- that is, to be in a state of figuring something out on the spot.” Verburg has had more than 20 solo exhibitions, including those at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Kansas City ArtInstitute.
Michael Moran / Moran Woodworked
Michael Moran, a woodworker and tree lover, and his partner Celia Gibson have been designing and building modern yet traditionally crafted furniture since 2004. Interested in the interaction of “natural and man-made worlds,” their pieces are both elegant and honest, paying homage to the unique characteristics of the wood itself.
“We try to take what already exists in the wood’s inherent beauty and make it into a functional piece,” Michael says. The trees used for their custom limited-edition furniture - as well as for Michael’s sculpture - each have their own story to tell. Working with domestic hardwoods in their workshop and home in the Hudson Valley, their designs often elevate and show an appreciation for the aspects of the tree usually deemed ‘imperfections’ by furniture designers and consumers alike; each knot and curve and bark inclusion become part of their story telling. Such care and reverence for materials encourage us to reconsider the ways in which we interact with - and often take for granted - the natural world around us.
Nancy Kwon was born in Los Angeles and spent part of her childhood in Seoul, South Korea, where her family is from. Her calm and simplistic style is the result of a formal training in Japanese pottery, and an admiration for the “mutually fragmented and serene qualities of relics and artifacts”. Her works have been hailed for their calm intelligibility, and for their ability to modernize an ancient aesthetic. Nancy studied media design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and then worked for the artist Jenny Holzer. She moved to New York City in 2012, and studied ceramics at Togei Kyoshitsu studio, which specializes in traditional Japanese artistries. Her pieces are revered by traditional teahouses, most notably Té Company and 29b Teahouse, both in New York. As for her company’s name- Kkokkodeck- it’s a Korean term, which is an onamonapia for the sound that a chicken makes.
Rachel Craven is a textile artist, designer and creative consultant who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Rachel grew up in a household of painters to which she has attributed her acute sense of color and proportion. She attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and then moved to the West Coast to try her hand as a fashion stylist, eventually transitioning back to painting and design, and starting her own clothing line. Rachel is also the cofounder of the popular biannual Echo Park Craft Fair, a vibrant gathering space for artists from around the world to commune, sell and support each other’s work.
Her eponymous clothing line has a marked angle of sustainability; all her garments are sourced, sewn, and dyed in downtown Los Angeles. She uses deadstock leftover fabrics from fashion houses around LA, material that would otherwise end up in landfills. Her collection of natural-fiber tops, pants, and dresses are beloved for the extraordinary comfort- the majority of Rachel’s collection is one size fits most, which further illustrates her commitment to ease and versatility.