Three widely successful Raleigh metal artists have joined forces for a show that explores many methods and sizes of contemporary metal work. From the exquisite jewelry of Gretchen McLaren to the beautiful organic geometry of Matt McConnell and the highly refined blacksmithing of Ben Galata, “METAL” shows off modern sculpture at every scale. The show opens May 6 and will feature melting ice-light-sculptures by Matt McConnell.
Later in the month, Designbox will be celebrating the debut of HGTV’s “Crafter’s Coast to Coast”
which features Gretchen McLaren. Designbox will show the episode in the gallery on the big screen at 7pm on May 25th.
Matt formed McConnell Studios to create custom designed environmental sculpture. Matt’s work centers around natural forces and forms using man-made materials. Using line systems, his work explores organic geometry in various forms: like the force of gravity and the motion of elements through space. Recently, Matt has been using the reflective nature of stainless steel and ice to show the presence of light. Matt McConnell attended the N.C. State College of Design, and his work can be found in Chicago, New York, Boston, Miami, the NC Museum of Art’s Blue Ridge Restaurant and Lucky 32 Restaurants.
Gretchen’s work has roots in the artistic movement of minimalism, but also has a European flavor as it draws upon German, Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics. These influences can be seen in the use of high karat colored gold, cabochon cut stones and matte finishes. Further influences are seen in the quiet simplicity of form, the search for the soul in each piece, the use of clean lines and the endeavor to achieve a high level of craftsmanship. She has been interviewed on NPR, featured on HGTV, and her work has been exhibited in art and craft galleries internationally, including the Penland Gallery and Craft Company No. 6.
Ben produces originally designed furnishings, sculpture and architectural details for his company Galata Designs. The work is a mesh of the traditional blacksmithing process with contemporary design aesthetic. All works are produced with great attention to design, craftsmanship and quality. Ben is a North Carolina State College of Design graduate, frequenter of the Penland School of Crafts, and a former member of Antfarm Studios.