Portland's Museum of Contemporary Craft: Featuring Frank Boyden
Photo Credit: Papazianphoto.com, Source: www.catenaengineers.com/
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Museum of Contemporary Craft
In the hub of Portland's alive and vibrant art community, within the trending Pearl District lies the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Behind large glass doors it boasts galleries of work dominated by local artists. The tables and shelves hold forms of different style, size and media. Upon viewing the assortment of crafts in 2010, one body of work spoke to my personal taste and intrigue. Frank Boyden's three wood fired vases have elegant but natural shapes, surfaced with striking images.
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'Uncle Skulky and Cow Vase' is one of Frank's wood fired pieces. It's a large wheel thrown vase made from a white porcelain. It has outward bulges and irregularities that give the vessel even more shape and character. It's neck narrows to an altered rim that looks as if it were melted. It's surface is coated with various earthly tones of orange, white, and light brown that texture and color the piece. Gracing the surface is a shallow detailed carving of a skeleton and a fish-like creature that wrap around the piece. The carved lines are emphasized with a dark stain to give it striking detail and sharp imagery. Frank's uses the technique of altering thrown forms to obtain his elegant yet natural look. He pushes the piece from the inside to give it an appearance of growth or movement. Warping the shape also provides extra form to exaggerate the surface drawings. The bulges create a three dimensional canvas to project the image. The forms are not glazed; the wood ash and debris that surrounds the piece while it was firing gave the pot its vibrant colors. The natural light tones provide a great background to his detailed drawings. His forms, surface decorations, and firing method are very cohesive and compliment each other well. His biological and environmental influence are evident through the warm burnt tones and realistic drawings on the earthly looking forms.
Wood fired pots were only part of what was on display at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. The clay and firing types varied, mediums of silver glass and brass lined drawers and counters. The overall feel was cohesive though. Each artist seemed to have a developed style and technique. Craftsmanship and creativity were the common thread among the art displayed.