WSU Hosts Metals 2022 Exhibition | arts and entertainment – Natural Self Esteem

Metals 2022 runs online from January 29th to Friday and is presented by the Art Department Gallery of the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History.

Sponsored by the Michigan Silversmiths Guild, the exhibit features artwork by 10 jewelry and metalsmith artists including from Wayne State, Eastern Michigan University, Bowling Green State University and the College for Creative Studies.

Katie MacDonald, exhibit organizer and WSU Instructor of Sculpture and Metalsmithing, said this project is part of the guild’s goal of supporting education.

“Often the guild holds workshops, and it’s not necessarily college students who attend,” MacDonald said. “Maybe you have tinkerers, you might have folks who got into metalsmithing later in life. So this is seen as an extension of that part of the mission.”

Evan Larson-Voltz, Associate Professor of Metalsmithing, said faculty from various colleges are involved in recruiting artists for the show. The organizers asked her for recommendations on students, faculty and alumni who might attend.

According to MacDonald, the show was originally planned to be held in person in January, and it would have been the first on-campus show at the Art Department Gallery since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was interrupted when WSU moved virtual classes and campus activities throughout January.

“Unfortunately, due to the COVID surge that happened just before the winter break, the decision was made to bring this exhibition online and one benefit of this I think is that it widens the window or opportunity for people to see the exhibition see,” MacDonald said. “So you have a wider reach and a longer period of time for people to tune into it and see it.”

Transitioning to a virtual exhibition required a lot of preparation, she said.

“The preparatory work for an online exhibition is very different than for an in-person exhibition. So when you suddenly start relying on photos, there’s a lot of stuff to do, a lot of data to enter,” MacDonald said. “So[the WSU gallery staff]were wonderful at switching gears and putting this exhibit in the completely opposite format.”

Although the virtual exhibition had advantages, being there in person could have created useful dialogue between the various colleges involved, MacDonald said.

Participating artists included WSU faculty, students, and alumni.

Master metalsmith Alaina Kraus presented her pieces New Oceans (2021) and Untold Stories: Oblivion (2021).

“(New Oceans) was inspired by the automaton work of Kim Nogueira. She takes a lot of inspiration from quotes and stories, so this piece was inspired by André Gide’s quote: ‘Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore,'” she said in one Email dated March 25 to The South End. “This quote is actually engraved on the back of the piece, although I don’t think it’s visible in the online exhibit.”

Kraus said the impact of the pandemic on adolescent mental health influenced her second play, Oblivion (2021).

“This article was inspired by an article I read during the shutdown that talked about the increase in suicide and depression due to isolation from friends and family and how it was even higher in teenage girls,” she said you. “The interior of the book contains 17 blue toned handmade and hand bound pages. It closes with a brass clasp tightly wrapped with twine which, despite its fragile appearance, is difficult to break.”

MacDonald said she enjoyed experiencing the character of each artist in this exhibition.

“So the fun part for me as an organizer is getting that kind of macro view of all these programs and being able to make connections between the students and the faculty and also to experience the different personalities of each institution reveal themselves through the work “, she said.

Larson-Voltz presented his pieces Improvised Tourniquet Before Stitches (2020) and Orbit (2017).

“Orbit” (2017) deals with the relationship between object and carrier, “Improvised Tourniquet Before Stitches” (2020) with the transmission of information.

He said he was interested in forging processes and techniques, as well as certain images that were later translated into Improvised Tourniquet Before Stitches (2020).

“It occurred to me that while most of the knowledge (about forging processes and techniques) was largely undocumented at the time, that awareness was probably transmitted from the head forge to the apprentices within a studio/workshop environment,” Larson-Voltz said.

MacDonald said she hopes to host exhibitions on campus in the future.

“The thing that immediately comes to mind is just being able to bring a personal experience back to gallery-goers,” she said. “Thinking about this exhibition in the past, it was really well and warmly received by our gallery customers. So I look forward to bringing that experience and then the next iteration of this exhibition to the table.”

Ashley Harris is the Arts and Entertainment Editor at The South End. She can be reached at

Cover photo provided by Katie MacDonald.

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