In The Gold Standard, an engaging three-part exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, metalsmith Lisa Gralnick explores the tension between gold’s preciousness as an artistic medium and its function as a commodity.
Her sculptures pair the scarce, malleable, endlessly recyclable material with its opposite — plaster, which is cheap, ubiquitous, brittle and impermanent.
In one series, she casts objects in both materials, but because the amount of gold represents the monetary value of the depicted item, the precious material constitutes just a sliver of each artwork.
Another series features ghostlike plaster casts “recording” previous states of gold items she’s melted down for making new work. A third presents the recycled gold in its new incarnation as an object with an invented, ironic history.
Lisa Gralnick: The Gold Standard continues through May 28 at HCCC.