Current Exhibition

Material World

On view March 1—May 12, 2019

Consumerism, luxury, obsession, and materialism have been persistent concepts in society throughout history. This spring six artists explore these themes and how they relate to pop culture and societal conventions in this new exhibition called “Material World.” 

Artists featured include Joseph Cavalieri, Hyesook Choi, Cédric Ginart, Karina Guevin, Slate Grove, and Morgan Peterson. 

This multi-artist exhibition includes: 

  • Traditional venetian goblets telling timeless tales such as “The Ugly Duckling” 
  • High heels and a shopping bag as relics (or remnants) of beauty 
  • An updated version of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” showing Alice with blue hair in New York City 
  • Modern day Fabergé Eggs 
  • And more 

Karina Guevin and Cédric Ginart, glass artists from Quebec, Canada, present collaborative works inspired by the world's literary heritage. 

 “The traditional Venetian glass blowing, which has always been associated with luxury and romance, presents interesting technical challenges and lends itself well to meticulous work. It is an aesthetic that we love and which, by its magisterial and dramatic side, is ideal for the illustration of tales,” said Guevin. 

Their colorful Rococo compositions reflect an improbable combination of their two aesthetics and the unusual encounter between two glassmakers with very different backgrounds. A glass artist for whom the words passion, colors and movements define the essence of her vision and a scientific glassmaker for whom the words technique, function and precision represent his universe. 

Hyesook Choi, an artist from South Korea, focuses on the concept of modern beauty and how it has influenced people, particularly women in their 20s and 30s in contemporary Korean society.  

“As society changes, the standard of beauty changes and the social expectations for beauty grow. Furthermore, with a strong focus on consumerism, women have turned to materialistic goods, especially purses and high heels to satisfy the artificial ideal of beauty,” said Choi.  

Her work explores the ironic tendencies that accompany notions of beauty and desire within modern and contemporary culture. She uses ordinary items such as purses and high heels as vehicles to reflect on an obsession with outward appearance among the young generation and how women in their 20s and 30s define themselves with the use of those items that are derived from the modern standard of beauty created by society.  

“Relics," which includes a pair of high heels and a shopping bag that appear to be decaying, is her series that she imagined would be representative of relics of beauty in the early 21st century as viewed from the far future.

New York City artist Joseph Cavalieri presents hand painted stained glass panels based on the illustrations of Lewis Carrol’s 1865 book ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’  

“I’ve updated the story by placing Alice in New York City in 2019 and gave her blue hair. Alice is seen with Hostess Cup Cakes, Campbell’s mushroom soup, smoking pot and drinking Coke. She is under-whelmed and lost in consumer-land,” said Cavalieri. 

Morgan Peterson works and lives in Seattle, WA. Her current body of work is a series called "Modern Day Fabergé” that references the glory and tragic fate of deceased pop culture icons.  In her other works she portrays addictions common to life in contemporary society.  

“I believe that all people, regardless of their background or pretensions, are in some way addicted to something. Some of these addictions are obvious and literal, but some, like religious and moral judgment, are obscured by our society's rhetorical tropes..... I employ common images and replace their usual context and palate with something more alarming. I hope to evoke in the viewer the disquiet and disturbance that our addictions—religion, consumerism, drug use—bring out in me,” said Peterson. 

Slate Grove, based in Indiana, emphasizes the hypocrisy he sees in the current social and political landscapes in his current body of work called “Designer Beliefs.” 

“Glass visually illustrates the ease with which some believers can design their own belief system, but also the fragility of those belief structures. I see those who translate the text of their beliefs very concretely with respects to some of the teachings and forget, altogether, that others were mentioned at all; effectively designing their own religions in order to fulfill their political agendas. 

In stark contrast to those who focus on their beliefs, are those who idolize the symbols and designers in the couture fashion world. Simple patterns, and design motifs have been adopted in society to outwardly project the status of those who can afford them,” Grove said.