RACINE, WI.- The Racine Art Museum
(RAM) in Racine, Wisconsin, announced the museum's recent commitment to establishing a permanent collection of polymer jewelry, beads and sculptural objects. As part of this resolution, the museum is organizing a large group exhibition opening the Fall 2011. Terra Nova: Polymer Art at the Crossroads will open at RAM on October 21, 2011. On display through February 5, 2012, the show emphasizes the development of polymer as an expressive medium for artwork in recent decades. A book is currently underway to support the content of the exhibition as well as function as a singular resource for the historical and philosophical dimensions of the polymer medium.
Along with borrowed polymer artwork from artists, galleries and private lenders from across the country, will debut a portion of a large number of works gifted to the museum in 2009 by the Polymer Collection Project. The Project is the brainchild of artist/collector Elise Winters whose goal was to entice an established, yet forward-looking, museum into acquiring masterful works of polymer art for its permanent collection. Winters had the beginnings of a museum-quality assemblage of polymer works within her own private collection. When combined with the holdings of three other independent collectors of historic polymer works-Nan Roche, Lindly Haunani and Carol Watkins-this small consortium collected over a thousand art pieces. The gift to RAM includes approximately 180 objects by a number of artists. The recent arrival of this substantial collection of polymer artworks establishes the national importance of RAM's holdings.
Narrowing the focus in order to emphasize how far the field has come in a short time, Terra Nova spotlights eight "Boundary Breakers" -artists who have been recognized within the polymer field and/or by other contemporary craft disciplines, such as Art Jewelry and furniture. Those eight artists or artist/duos are: Bonnie Bishoff (collaborating with J.M. Syron), Jeff Dever, Kathleen Dustin, Steven Ford and David Forlano, Tory Hughes, Cynthia Toops, Pier Voulkos, and Elise Winters. Each artist will be represented by new works as well as by pieces that offer a visual history of their experimentation in polymer. In addition to featuring the "Boundary Breakers," supplemental pieces from the museum's permanent collection will support a historical look at polymer's development and demonstrate the scope of RAM's holdings.
Through the exhibition and the book, RAM highlights the advances made in the use of polymer as an artistic material over the last 30 years and forecasts the potential for the medium's future.