Updating the premise of Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical, Paul J. Smith's seminal 1986 exhibit at the American Craft Museum in New York, curator Lynn Friedman Hamilton has reassembled the same group of artists and asked them to display new work. Newness is key: Both exhibits seek to redefine the very word "craft," searching for a meaning that moves beyond the connotations of use and/or adornment, the term's semantic ball and chain. Might new materials reset craft's perimeters? Ana Lisa Hedstrom creates a painterly wall tapestry made of blue-tinted "eco-synthetic felt" derived from recycled bottles; John McQueen uses caution tape, plastic packaging, metal construction lifts and other bits of urban debris to create meticulous, abstract collages. Henry Halem employs a discarded window as a substrate for an Iraq War memorial, hanging it so that the ghostly images of veterans painted on its surface glass, shot through with light, cast precise shadow portraits on the gallery wall. Craft, the show suggests, might remain burdened, but the discipline's broad back can bear the freight of complex content. From a less epistemological point of view, Without Boundaries is a testament to the persistence of its makers, whose inventive work goes on in spite of hell and transmigration. Through October 21 at Craft Alliance, 6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-1177 or www.craftalliance.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
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