The Ornamental Plumb Bob
on View at HCCC May 31 – July 27, 2013
(HOUSTON, TX) April 19, 2013 – Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) presents The Ornamental Plumb Bob, a solo exhibition of objects and brooches by San Antonio metalsmith, Gary Schott. Stemming from his 2011 series of brooches, Schott’s new body of work continues to explore the plumb bob, a tool used by many craftspeople to denote a vertical line of reference.
Historically, craftspeople throughout Europe, North America, and the Middle East have designed a wide range of elaborate and unique plumb-bob weights. Dating back well before the age of the guilds, plumb bobs were created in all different sizes, materials, and shapes, from fruit to nautical designs. Based on the identification of materials and forms, collectors have traced certain plumb bobs to the time period and region in which they were created. Gary Schott’s works are an extension of this longstanding tradition.
Adorning the wall and the body respectively, Schott’s large-scale objects and human-scale brooches serve a functional purpose, while also calling attention to their ornamentation. Like much of his previous work, Schott infuses these pieces with mechanical and interactive qualities. When suspended from a wall or body, each plumb bob becomes interactive through its kinetic potential, while establishing the vertical axis of the wall or wearer. At the same time, the decorative plaques placed behind the objects direct the viewer’s attention to the geometric weights and lustrous materials of the plumb bobs. The pieces boast lathe-turned wooden weights that dangle from sumptuous, red brass fixtures, like ornaments on a tree.
By highlighting both aesthetics and function, Schott’s work subverts the popular home-decorating trend that incorporates antique objects into the home as nonfunctional décor. According to Schott, “Today, one has to look only as far as Ebay or Etsy to notice how objects of yester-year are collected and coveted by a great portion of the population as wonderful objects. These objects decorate our shelves and interior spaces, often leaving them unused or removed from their original context.” Through this exhibition, Schott brings new life to an object that is considered a valuable antique by many collectors.
Gary Schott currently resides in San Antonio, TX, where he is Chair of the Jewelry/Metals Department at the Southwest School of Art. Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Schott holds a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Schott’s work has been exhibited widely throughout Texas, the U.S. and abroad. In 2010, Schott’s piece, Eskimo Kisser, received an Award of Merit in HCCC’s biennial juried exhibition, CraftTexas 2010.
The Ornamental Plumb Bob was curated by Kathryn Hall, HCCC Curatorial Fellow.
May 31 – July 27, 2013
In the Artist Hall at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft,
4848 Main Street
Friday, May 31, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Artist Talk at 5:30 PM
The opening will also feature The Tool at Hand, in the large gallery; Ctrl + P, in the small gallery; and open studios by HCCC’s current resident artists from 6:00 – 7:00 PM. Beer sponsored by Karbach Brewing Co.