chambers_e_opionautdesklamp_w640The Greater Denton Arts Council (GDAC) presents the 25th Annual Materials: Hard & Soft National Contemporary Craft Competition and Exhibition. The exhibition, which has run continuously since 1987, was the idea of local artist, Georgia Leach Gough.  The name, Materials: Hard & Soft, refers to the entire range of fine craft.  This competition and ensuing exhibition still draws the attention of fans of contemporary craft across the country.  In 2006, the Texas Commission on the Arts designated this show as a “must see” exhibition in Texas. It is one of the premier craft exhibitions in the country.

Editor in chief of American Craft magazine, Monica Moses, is this year’s juror. She brings to that role 20 years' experience in media organizations as an editor, designer, and creative director – as well as a lifetime of passion for the visual arts. Moses is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in English of St. Olaf College and has a master's degree in Visual Communication from the University of Minnesota. She was on the visual faculty of the world's leading training institution for mid-career journalists, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, for four years and served as a Pulitzer Prize juror in photography in 2006. When she is not editing the magazine, she paints, makes jewelry, works with handmade paper, and dabbles in clay.

Ms. Moses is very excited about the exhibit.  “What a joy to serve as juror for the Materials: Hard and Soft exhibition! Overall, the entries showed a solid mastery of technique and material, along with a sure sense of design.

The strongest pieces, in many cases, were the simplest – the well-conceived, well-made objects that were true to their own implicit principles and didn’t try too hard. A striking number of works seemed to transcend material; it wasn’t immediately obvious to the observer what material was used, because the artist simply used whatever medium would best convey the message. In the Mixed Media category, for example, unorthodox materials were often used because they were effective, not as a gimmick or to show prowess.

A number of pieces in the show have a fine-art presence. Others have an original, exuberant functionality. The world is big enough for both, as the Hard and Soft artists have demonstrated so well.”

GDAC received entries from 220 artists this year, with a total of 582 pieces. Ms. Moses, chose 75 pieces for the exhibition.maser_flanagan_v_portal2_w640

As usual, the work submitted stretches the typical definition of craft. Typically, craft is defined as having a functional purpose to separate it from fine art.  While there may be a reference to a purpose, these artists have stretched the boundaries of the craft definition.  The skill of the artist in manipulating their chosen material is readily apparent.  This opportunity to see first-hand the mastery of technique and manipulation of material draws viewers from many parts of the country.

The quality of work, as well as the duration of this exhibition, promotes Denton’s artistic community.  Drawing exhibitors and visitors nationally advances the perception that for two months Denton showcases the best craft in the country.  The excellent work continues to stretch the boundaries of artistic expression.

The Opening Reception is Friday, February 3, 2012, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Recognition of awards will begin at 6:45.

GDAC encourages visitors to take the new A-train to The Center for the Visual Arts! Visitors can connect to the A-train from DART’s Green Line at the Trinity Mills station.  View train schedules or find out more or atwww.mya-train.com.

To obtain additional information about the exhibit either visit the GDAC’s website, www.dentonarts.com, or call 940-382-2787.