Literally Figurative Celebrates Human Form at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Posted March 5, 2009 in Press Releases

This spring, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) will present its first curated invitational exhibition, Literally Figurative, on view April 4 – July 3, 2009. Literally Figurative focuses on the many aspects of the human figure—complex, beautiful, humorous, and quirky—as depicted by craft artists through works made from ceramic, fiber, glass, metal, wood, or mixed media. These whimsical and offbeat objects are sure to delight the viewer, while they demonstrate the conceptual and non-functional side of contemporary craft.Throughout art history, the human figure has been the primary inspiration for paintings, drawings, carvings, and sculpture. Artists have always depicted the human figure in highly individual ways, often using their art as a means to directly address the human condition. For centuries, depictions of the human figure were prized more highly than those of animals, landscapes or objects, and, from the Renaissance onward, anatomy became a staple of the artist’s training. Literally Figurative will highlight contemporary craft that focuses on the human figure as the prime feature or inspiration. Looking at the work of several distinguished artists, the viewer will walk away with an understanding of the importance of the human figure in art and craft in today’s society.

HCCC Curator of Fine Craft, Gwynne Rukenbrod, commented: “Now that fine craft is crossing over into the realm of fine art, encompassing non-functional and sculptural objects, the human form is a natural subject for craft artists to explore. The desire to create and express is the same for craft artists as it is for painters or conceptual artists, but their processes and chosen media tend to define their work as craft. Literally Figurative will highlight the importance of the human figure in art, while demonstrating that fine art and fine craft are really one in the same.”

The artists featured in Literally Figurative include Jennifer Barnds, a Houston-based glass artist; Beth Beede, a felt maker from Northampton, Massachusetts; Juliellen Byrne, a ceramist from Columbus, Ohio; Tod Pardon, an enamellist from Saratoga Springs, New York; Marlene Rose, a glass sculpture artist from Clearwater, Florida; Susan Shie, a quilter from Wooster, Ohio; Christina Smith, a silversmith from Fullerton, California; Blanka Sperkova, a sculptor and jeweler who works with knitted wire, from the Czech Republic; and Joël Urruty, who creates figurative sculpture and furniture from wood and bronze, from Hickory, North Carolina.

Opening Weekend Events, April 3 and 5, 2009
At Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main Street Friday, April 3, 5:30 – 8:00 PM — Opening Reception (free and open to the public) Sunday, April 5, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM — Special Workshop: Bodies in Motion: Movement Explorations in the Gallery with MaryBeth Smith, MM, GCFP, Director of The Feldenkrais® Center of Houston ($15 per person; register at

Mary Headrick (
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
713.529.4848 x 107