Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Apr 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

An Afternoon at the Smart Museum

ae_deskA legion of dark-haired, jeans-clad, slender teenaged people with attentive attitudes walked past me as I stood over the “Touch Table,” pulling apart and re-attaching objects using miter, dovetail and lap joints.

A few of the young visitors from Nigata, Japan, took my place around the “Touch Table” after I moved on, and, laughing, attached the objects in unintended ways. Meanwhile, I listened to a video of woodworker Michael Singer explaining his technique for joining irregular shapes while I perused a case of tools displayed below. An unfinished chair, a prototype by Om Anand, held a small sign explaining what a prototype is, challenging the viewer to find the finished chair and to notice the changes.

Here at the entrance to “Studio Made: Santa Cruz Woodworkers,” the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center flies its colors as a participative museum. This entry wall not only carries the name of the show but also prepares viewers to appreciate the work within.

Within is a collection of studio furniture and functional art of surprising breadth of individualistic design, made with impeccable craftsmanship by ten members of the Santa Cruz Woodworkers.  On a wall panel, curator Susan Hillhouse writes that “Woodworking is a spiritual practice” and posits this as the difference between mass-produced works and such works as are here exhibited, works that reflect the “clarity and soul” of the artist.

Evidently, Jefferson Shallenberger is a fearless and sensual soul, whose piece de resistance is his “Red Desk,” a filigree of graceful curves joining in impossible mobius relationships to support the sweep of three red woods outlined in white inlay that form the surface of a piece that would be at home in Versailles.

Nearby, Roger Heitzman’s “Nouvella” desk and chair pushes the envelope in a modernist design; the lines of his blonde chair seemingly trace the forces that buttress the human form it’s destined to support. Beyond, in works that bring to mind the groundbreaking designs of George Nakashima, Om Anand’s eloquent minimalist tables and cabinets glorify the wood itself, often integrating an un-trimmed edge as if to say “tree—remember, this is a tree!”

Michael Singer exults in the psychedelic grain of spalted maple to make his “Chiffonier” into a work of true genius. With a wry approach, Ron Cook offers a medieval-style installation of table, stools, chandelier, goblets and chessboard in front of a wall-full of musical instruments—harp, organ, fiddle, dulcimer, each musically functional and exquisite. Throughout the exhibition, scannable QR codes displayed beside the works allow smartphone users to access the artist’s website or, in this case, hear the instruments being played. Santa Cruz just got smarter.

Studio Made: Santa Cruz Woodworkers continues at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center through Nov. 13.


Maureen Davidson writes about the arts as The Exhibitionist. This column and her radio spot and blog at KUSP.org are funded in part by a grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?