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Rebecca Rose: On “Bridgism”, Sculpturings and How We Define Fine Art

This article shares The Rickie Report’s interview with internationally collected artist, Rebecca Rose. Rebecca is a well respected jewelry artist and sculptor who brings her ideas to life in her “Sculpturings”.  She  also documents and participates in a new DIY ( Do It Yourself) movement called “Bridgism”.

Rebecca Rose:

Sculpturings and Bridgism

TRR:  Tell us about your “Sculpturings” and how you came to be involved in the “Bridgism” Movement.

RR:

I sketch, assemble, mold, carve, burnout, cast, and polish fully realized, yet tiny, pieces of sculpture meant to be worn as rings. My work is a hybrid of two genres, giving equal and due credit to sculpture and wearable art, which I call “Sculpturings”.   Each piece begins with a philosophy or way of life that describes a current event or social message, and I pair it with a name that contains the word “ring”, usually as a suffix in the title. My work has shown extensively in galleries throughout Manhattan, and Los Angeles, including Madison Ave., Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood, and is internationally owned by private art collectors including TV producers, Fashion Designers, Emmy Award Winning Actors, and Broadway Musicians.
Sculpturings Study: Muppeteering

Rebecca Rose  Sculpturings Study: “Muppeteering”

I’ve begun to document a movement related to the 3rd Wave/DIY movement called “Bridgism”. Over the years I saw I’m not the only one who wants to bridge that gap between the applied and fine arts, and dispel myths that jewelry and the applied arts is less than, instead of equal to, other mediums accepted as a fine art. I’ve been invited to write blogs on the subject, have given interviews for a student dissertation on the idea, and was rewarded the 2013-2014 SNAG/crafthaus scholarship for my efforts on documenting and opening discussion the movement. I feel that these early steps towards a common ideology will inspire collectors and customers to invest, purchase, and enjoy more craft and artisan works for generations to come.
Crafts Report

Crafts Report

TRR:  How were you included in the Crafts Report?

RR:

Brigitte Martin, founder of crafthaus and author of “Humor in Craft” encouraged me to contact the magazine’s editors as they prepared for their annual “30 Under 30” issue. I squeaked by on my age because the editors understood how important it is to bring awareness to this movement and encourage other artists in varying craft disciplines to gain confidence in showing their work alongside paintings, prints, and sculpture. The editor and I have talked about future articles on Bridgism to help clear up mainstream confusion about the craft and fine art, so keep your eyes peeled for great things happening to the industry, because this is only the beginning.
Puppeteering

Rebecca Rose:” Puppeteering”

TRR:  Tell us more about the artistic work you create

RR:

My work has a specific look to them, part of the intent is for my style to be recognizable at first glance, just as certain painters’ styles are recognizable at first glance. The presentation and piece are void of color, also to emphasize form. My methods involve a the lost wax casting process by carving wax and kitbashing found burnable objects like childhood toys, game pieces, organic materials, and imported miniatures.
Oddly enough, in addition to sculpture, I equate each piece to a painting. Each original sterling silver sculpturing is equivalent to a original painting, and the limited edition of bronze sculpturings are the equivalent to limited edition prints of that painting. I also infuse my pieces with a cohesive narrative and a uniform statement from my point of view about an issue or event.
Puppeteering with Magnifying Glass

Rebecca Rose: “Puppeteering” with Magnifying Glass

Each piece is a fully realized sculpture which begins with a philosophy/way of life that describes a current event, and I pair it with words that contain the word “ring”, usually as a suffix. As an example, “Puppeteering”, which just finished showing at the Gallery of Art in Legnica, Poland is about Occupy Wall Street of 2012:
  • The three figures on the left, ranging in age and gender, represent the political the summer and fall of 2011. Coming from different backgrounds, they band together, pointing the finger of blame, responsibility, and caution to government puppeteering of our future. The puppeteer is represented by the soldier and rides the back of our future, represented by the baby, which at times needs to be led around. The pitchfork and hand trap the baby to symbolize the fine line between the evil actions of politics and the hasty actions of the public, leaving the future with very little room for error.

 

Puppeteering in Display Case

Rebecca Rose:  “Puppeteering” in Display Case

I call the work “Sculpturings” to give equal and due credit to both genres, sculpture and jewelry, not deeming it one genre more than the other. That’s how I hope people will respond, that the body of work bridges the gap between two genres: Sculpture can be mobile instead of viewed as heavy and immovable, and jewelry can be a conduit of substance, meaning, and message.
Rebecca Rose's Sculpturings

Rebecca Rose’s Sculpturings

In addition to traditional galleries, online galleries and social networking sites allow anyone to collect, curate, and crave works of art. With wearbale art, gallery walls expand beyond the physical sense as the audience takes the art with them, wearing the forms and sharing the ideas with those they encounter. With this idea, sculpture won’t always be seen as heavy, immovable art.

TRR:  You spoke about realizing the distinction between craft and fine art when you attended art school.  Please share how that affected you and your work.

RR:

Students in the fine arts degree I pursued at NAU were encouraged to learn a myriad of art disciplines: intaglio, oil painting, fabricating, screenprinting, sewing, foundry, lithography, photography, acrylic painting, metalsmithing, jewelry, etc. I saw similarities in both my Sculpture & Foundry classes and my Jewelry & Metalsmithing classes during college, but I couldn’t understand why there was such strict distinction between what is considered craft and fine art.
In both cases we started with an idea, and transformed that idea from concept to reality out of wax and burnable objects. In both cases we plaster coated the original, kiln fired it, melted metal, and poured it into the negative space. I saw that with exception to size, sculpture and jewelry were relatively the same, interchangeable!
Planetary Ring

Rebecca Rose’s “Planetary Ring”

I approached each piece of jewelry I created with the same artistic thought, integrity, and intent as I did with a larger piece of sculpture, and yet it was collectively viewed solely as craft and not as a piece of fine art. After graduating, I noticed the same views were engrained into the art scene. More times than not, ten years ago galleries would state “no jewelry accepted” in the submission prospectus. For a handful of years, I showed paintings and prints with other paintings and prints, and developed a deep relationship with some galleries. When I approached my gallerists with my sculptural wearable work, some of them responded with, “we don’t show jewelry.”
Sculpturings Study: Acquiring

Rebecca Rose’s Sculpturings Study: “Acquiring”

I asked for their reasons while sharing my reasons, and it was really eyeopening to gain insight into how the fine art world views jewelry and the applied arts. One of their reasons was, “We only have wall space available in the gallery” which inspired me to come up with a way to frame my work like a painting so it could hang with paintings and prints. Another reason was, “Jewelry lacks presence like that of a sculpture.” which inspired me to start presenting my work as a piece of sculpture on pedestals and modified a glass cloche dome with an armature to give the piece more presence. Those early rejections proved to be great lessons, and I realized although I had always seen my work as pieces of sculpture, others didn’t. I had to present it in familiar fine art fashions, like frames and pedestals, for it to be seen as a piece of fine art.

TRR: How did “Bridgism” become a term?

RR:

The term comes from the root word “bridge” because the crossover happening between craft and fine art is not just a one way street. I see established painters and fine artists crossing over to dabble in the applied arts and crafts too. But the term also pays homage to Brigitte Martin, founder of crafthaus, an online arts community inspired by the Bauhaus movement of the 1930’s. Brigitte is also the mind behind “Humor in Craft”, a beautiful coffee table book profiling ceramicists, jewelers, glass blowers, and fiber artists who push their medium to an intellectual extreme in both execution and subject matter, in the most whimsical of ways.
Brigitte Martin

Brigitte Martin

Brigitte has been an advocate for artisans and craftspeople for years, heavily involved in metal arts and art jewelry. I’m among a bunch of people who think very highly of her;  she has a keen, discerning eye and knows her stuff. Because of her dedication of highlighting craft in a high, artistic fashion, it seemed natural for the term “Bridgism” to serve a dual purpose: describing the visual concept of building and crossing a bridge between a gap, while paying homage to Brigitte’s tireless efforts and dedication to the field.

TRR:  Tell us more about Bridgism.

RR:

Bridgism is the current trend of artworks that bridge the gap between fine art and craft/ applied arts, blurring the line so much that the line doesn’t exist or matter. Bridgism equals the playing field, where both craft and fine art are equally recognized and revered. Artworks in the design and the decorative arts field are showing alongside paintings more, and established fine artists are dabbling in and experimenting with applied arts and craft. Bridgists tend to use craft materials and techniques, but push the artistic boundaries further than normal, gaining attention and getting noticed by the fine art community.
"Humor in Craft"

“Humor in Craft”

The resurgence of 3rd Wave/ DIY artists today is reminiscent of the Victorian Arts and Crafts movement of the 1980’s, the Pasadena Arts and Crafts movement of the 1920’s, the German Bauhaus movement of the 1930’s, and the American Arts and Crafts movement during the 1960’s. The artists in this movement have the ability to change the mainstream collective view so jewelry, fiber art, design, paper art, craft, are accepted as a conduit of fine art. Established fine artists are creating art jewelry as well, dispelling the myth that it’s below fine art. It may not fully be in the mainstream consciousness yet, but it’s been happening for years.
Acquiring

Rebecca Rose’s Many Views of “Acquiring”

Check out the artists in my recent online blog article through Art Attacks Online curation, or thumb through the book “The Artist as Jeweler” by Diane Venet. Examples of Bridgism through Art Jewelry were evident at Design/Miami Basel this June, and sparked a Blouin Artinfo article entitled, “Jewelry Art Takes Pride of Place”. Elisabetta Cipriani Gallery regularly invites established fine artists to create small sculptural and wearable works, and last November, Claire Oliver Gallery NYC held an “Artist as Jeweler” show. Anish Kapoor, Ruudt Peters, Lucia Massei, and others showed select wearable artworks, and artists like Orly Genger, Gary Baseman, Audrey Kawasaki, etc have released wearable works recently. 
The Bridgism crossover currently in the worldwide art scene, is also inspiring collaborative shows to emerge. These shows pair fine artists with applied artists and partner to create an onorthodox mashup piece, like oil painting with thread, printmaking with metal.
Complete Acquiring Sculpturing

Rebecca Rose’s Complete “Acquiring” Sculpturing

At first, I thought Brigdism would apply only to jewelry, but now I see it having a larger impact as it’s applied to realms of design and fashion, because similar discussions are already happening within these fields. The Blouin Art Info article mentioned above and very the recent  Artsy.net   blog post “Sitting on Sculpture” , signify that the mainstream conscious has begun to shift, and all aspects of design are Bridging over to fine art.  On a macro level of theory,
Bridgism also spans between fine art, craft, art jewelry, design, fashion, etc. and through early documentation via articles and online research, these Bridgist patterns are being grouped together. 
Joe's Figurative

Joe Fig – Polymer Clay, Mixed Media

Some art historians and theorists, who have noticed patterns emerging too, have begun discussing a collaboration on a book regarding the crossover of craft theory with fine art theory, and are eager to offer their viewpoints.

TRR: How do you see the fine art world and fine craft world coexisting now and what are your hopes for the future?

RR:

Fine art galleries are starting to welcome pieces that ten years ago would’ve been shrugged off, or disregarded as a piece of fine art.
Sculpturings Study: Bordering

Rebecca Rose’s Sculpturings Study: “Bordering”

People are talking about the field progressing, and having that dialogue continue is the most important step. The second most important step is to put it into action through shows, catalogues, and publications to keep people talking about it. If you, the artist and reader, secretly desire to curate an event dedicated to showcasing the values of Bridgism, find a venue, curate the artists, propose the show to the gallerist, and make it publicly happen.
Bronze Sculpturing "Inspiring"

Rebecca Rose’s Bronze Sculpturing “Inspiring”

Craft theory has been a hot topic for years and has been talked about at length, but needs to be acted upon. This type of elongated involvement will help propel the movement into accepted mainstream consciousness, and when new ideas are accepted on a larger scale, more doors will open for artisans everywhere. It’s a win-win.
Inspiring

Rebecca Rose’s Bronze “Inspiring”

Social media is playing a part in this movement. When people share what they like, whether it be furniture, paintings, wearable art, fiber art, sculpture, users aren’t always paying much mind to the material or the technique, but whether the piece is noteworthy, interesting, artistic, unusual, etc.  In our mass produced, box-store shopping world, collectors are leaning towards owning unique, handmade pieces that carry a substantial intellectual significance. 
Bronze "Ringmaster"

Rebecca Rose’s Bronze “Ringmaster”

Galleries are involved in this too. Gallerists are seeing the popularity of these created forms go viral, and are thus becoming more willing to accept works that they might not have considered to show before, and opening their arms, doors, and collecting clientele to artisans. But it’s not a one way street, and the burden isn’t solely on the shoulders of the art world to embrace the possibilities of these mediums and approaches. To be really effective, artists in the craft field should realistically view their own work on an artistic level and participate in exhibitions that call for pieces that relate to a specific theme, en lieu of medium.
Meredith Ditmar

Meredith Ditmar – Polymer Clay

I believe in the near future, galleries will integrate even more pieces from the applied arts and crafts in their shows, it’s a really exciting time for this to happen!
Elise Winters Woodland Ruffle Cuff (detail), 2008 Polymer and Acrylic Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist Photography: Penina Meisels

Elise Winters
Woodland Ruffle Cuff (detail), 2008
Polymer and Acrylic
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist
Photography: Penina Meisels

TRR: There are crafts, such as polymer clay, which have come into their own in terms of sophistication and artistry.  The Racine Art Museum has opened a new collection just to highlight polymer clay.  Is this a step in “Bridgism”?

RR:

Absolutely!  Seoul, Korea- based sculptor, Choi Xooang creates his work out of nothing but polymer clay, and has gained international exposure online and in art galleries. I think the emphasis is placed on how far you can push the envelope with the materials -whether it’s polymer clay, thread, metal, etc.-  rather than the type of materials that are used.
Cho Xooang

Cho Xooang – Polymer Clay and Thread

Choi Xooang was featured on the “This Is Colossal” Artblog in 2012. http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2011/05/choi-xooang/. Artist Joe Fig incorporates polymer clay with wood, acrylic, canvas, and paper to bring famous artists and their studios to life in three dimensional form. Also check out the art of Hive Gallery & Studios owner, Nathan Cartwright. He’s practically rewritten the book on polymer clay possibilities over the last ten years or so. Meredith Dittmar from Portland creates wall hung dioramas entirely out of polymer clay, and Sheri Debow has shown her sculptures in art galleries throughout San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia.

TRR:  What advice would you give to a young artist?

RR:

Some things learned over the years… it’s rare to find anyone who does everything on their own.  You will come in contact with professionals within the field during circumstances you could never dream about.  Be gracious for them, often.
Bronze Inspiring - Complete Package

Rebecca Rose’s Bronze “Inspiring” – Complete Package

But don’t solely depend on luck, depend on strategy, dedication, research, and pay attention while gaining perspective throughout your career. Stay serious about your pieces even if you implement whimsy in the subject matter, and focus on releasing quality work with high craftsmanship, because the pieces will have a life of their own beyond your own existence.
Keep going and be prepared to work! Your mind and soul initially give birth to the dream, but it’s your sweat and hands over time that make it come true.

For more information about Rebecca’s artwork, please contact her at  info@sculpturings.com  or visit www.sculpturings.com,   www.facebook.com/RebeccaRoseArt,  www.twitter.com/sculpturings or www.instagram/sculpturings

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

 
 

Image #1 (labeled Complete Acquiring):

“Acquiring”
3.55 troy oz/101 grams
Cast .925 Sterling Silver
2.25″ x 1.25″ x 1″
Unique, 1/1
Image #2 (labeled 1B):
“Puppeteering”
1.951 troy oz
Cast .925 Sterling Silver
2.5″ x 1.5″ x .75″
Image #3 (labeled 1E):
“Puppeteering”
With magnifying glass
Image #4 (labeled 8.5 Acquiring):
a 360 deg. view of “Acquiring”
Image #5 (labeled Puppeteering Jewelbook):
A Sculpturing when worn.

 

To read previous posts, click TheRickieReport.com and scroll down.