Exhibition "FORGE" Review

Contemporary Blacksmith Work shown 2017 Ruthin Gallery Wales
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The curator’s overview Multiple Perspectives: forged metal claims its place in contemporary culture Delyth Done

In recent years, the practice of artist blacksmiths has transformed.   Contemporary artist blacksmiths are creating original and cohesive bodies of work, works which engage not only with the practices and forms of traditional blacksmithing, with its focus on material, process and function; but also with many broader cultural, environmental and socio-political conversations.  These works bring a fresh perspective to the discipline and demand new critical consideration, giving focus to an international community of artist blacksmithing driven by ideas and concept as much as by process and material. 

Participating Artists

Egor Bavykin (Russia), Claudio Bottero (Italy), Ambrose Burne (Wales), Francisco Gazitua (Chile), Nils Hint (Estonia), Christian Vaughan Jones (Wales), Takayoshi Komine (Japan), Daniel Neville (USA), Patrick Quinn (USA), Daniel Randall (USA), Leszek Sikon (Poland), Professor Richard Smith (USA), Fred Truus (Estonia), Stephen Yusko (USA), and Professor Heiner Zimmermann (Germany).
See more Work in our exhibtion publication to download HERE.
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Professor Rick Smith

Sedimentary strata in cliff faces, metamorphic rock formations, the jagged lines cut in the earth in rock quarries, the formidable lines of steel in bridges, and even the silhouette of a city skyline; in all my travels I survey pattern and organic design. Intentionally and inadvertently these shapes and structures are reflected in my work. 

This body of work is a continuation of a concept I have been working with since 2010 that deals with transcending two-dimensional space. First by creating a two-dimensional drawing using crosshatching and marks to add depth and visual interest and then reinterpreting those marks, dimensions, and texture in steel, in a 3-D format.

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Takayoshi Komine

This pattern reflects a crystal structure within meteorites that is naturally made as the rock is cooled very slowly in the weightlessness of space. 

It is said that repeating this process artificially is impossible. 

It is impossible to plan perfectly from the start – it would be stifling and risk the work appearing artificial. Instead, I work intuitively, using my knowledge, technology and senses to reflect in the forge something usually formed through natural power. This invocation of natural laws adds an extra dimension to my work.

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Professor Heiner Zimmermann

A big drive in my work is to reveal visual moments in the process of working with metal that are usually exclusive to the maker. Part of my process is an investigation of my material beyond destruction, to a point where I can reward myself by creating a new aesthetic. 

While I understand craft as the contained knowledge of generation, this brings with it a responsibility to develop and share. I experience material knowledge as a result of time and curiosity. 

Both material and craft are inseparable and dependent on each other in my approach.

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Exhibition Review by Roger William Connah

The forge, a blacksmith, paintings of hearth and anvil, literature and labour, art and myth, socio- cultural and economic narratives. Past and Present. Forged metal! Always a Constructivist echo embedded in this first strike on the anvil. Reflections aplenty and concepts of course; but concepts not always conceptual enough for the language required by the academies and art councils. Yet this is language sometimes too conceptual for the quarry men, the big smith-hitters, the metal gurus….And so on, cautiously but dreaming! Download to fully read the intire review. 

Exhibition Review by Alexander Kamelhair

To practice the art of blacksmithing in a contemporary context is to converse with the history of technology – the evolution of civilization and knowledge. Either directly or indirectly, the conscientious maker cannot help but acknowledge this discourse through process, and with material. It is impossible to disengage because iron is so deeply imbued with thousands of years of social history and meaning; so intertwined with our understanding of our own civilized development, that neither artist nor audience can ignore its enduring whispers. The ability to shape iron is the fundamental technological development that produced the necessary tools for efficient carpentry, masonry, agriculture, and war. Both the greatest achievements and the most harrowing challenges presented in modernity are eventually, and essentially, inconceivable without this preceding and primeval craft. It is for this reason that we must critically reconsider the artist blacksmith’s potential to speak with a simultaneously personal, perennial, and relevant voice to current issues in art and architecture, society and politics. Download to fully read the intire Review
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The Collaboration

This webpage is the result of collaboration between two leading international university programs in metal art. A selection of the best BfA and MfA exam work will be presented every year.

HCA Hereford

Delyth Done
Hereford College of Arts
College Road Campus
Hereford
HR1 1EB
Website Link

HDK Valand

Professor Heiner Zimmermann
Hemslöjdsvägen 1
666 95 Dals Långed
+46 768898186

Website Link

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