New York: MAD Museum of Arts and Design – Joyce J. Scott – Maryland to Murano. At the MAD Museum of Arts and Design the exhibition, Joyce J. Scott - Maryland to Murano, until March 15. Organized by Lowery Stokes Sims, MAD's William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator, Maryland to Murano is the first exhibition that examines the relationship between Scott's beaded and constructed neckpieces created in her Baltimore, Maryland studio and her more recent blown glass sculptures crafted in the Berengo Studio on Murano in Venice. It demonstrates the interplay between these two bodies of work and reveals the range of Scott's technique and skill as well as the complex relationship she has shaped among adornment, content, and methodology.
Above. One of the highlights: Buddha (Wind) – 2013 - hand-blown Murano glass processes with beads, wire thread. Buddha (Wind) is one of the three sculptures in the Buddha Series (2013). The multi-figural compositions allude to the four elements-earth, fire, water, and wind. Each work combines blown glass renderings of Buddha besieged by earthly beaded figures. The resulting experience is as powerfully metaphysical as it is technically astounding.
Maryland to Murano. Artist, Joyce J. Scott has lived, studied, and worked in Maryland all her life. Challenging perceived dichotomies between art and craft, sophistication and naivete, politics and adornment, she has succeeded in incorporating these elements within a vast and varied body of work. It is through her jewelry that she has garnered her widest audience and recognition. In Scott's hands, human adornment becomes a vehicle for social commentary and a means for confronting contentious issues affecting contemporary society. Navigating controversial themes including hunger, rape, and racial stereotypes, Scott's jewelry transcends the typical function of adornment and embellishment.
Maryland to Murano. Vessel – 2006 - woven glass beads, thread, wire, mixed media – front and back. Perhaps no other work in this exhibition indicates the connection between Scott’s neckpieces and her sculptural work better than this beaded vessel. The accumulation of multiple elements and heads demonstrate her skill in manipulating beaded technique into three-dimensional form.
Maryland to Murano. Rain – 2014 – beads, thread. One of her most recent pieces, Rain is a proliferation of turquoise curlicues, tendrils, and twists, intermingled with disembodied yet active figures. Having been detached and reworked from one of Scott's sculptural glass busts, this piece is a prime example of the connection between her bodies of work.
Maryland to Murano. Curator, Lowery Stokes Sims. "Joyce Scott has maneuvered within the most traditional of materials and techniques to create a body of work of great expressive potential," says Stokes Sims. "She has positioned herself within the context of the art world in such a way that the viability of her materials and the place where she creates is widely recognized and celebrated."
Maryland to Murano. Dance Neckpiece – 2013 – woven glass beads.
photograph by Michael Koryta - courtesy Goya Contemporary and MAD Museum
Maryland to Murano. Lewd #1 – 2013 – hand-blown Murano glass processes with beads and thread. Demonstrating Scott's skillful combination of beadwork and blown glass, Lewd #1 (2013) is a tour de force of glassblowing techniques and salacious nuances. A beaded imp torments the glass female figure to create a vignette rife with sexual tension.
Maryland to Murano. Detail, Joyce’s Necklace – ca. 1990s – thread, beads, silver, enamel, metal, horn, mixed stones, ivory, created collected and gifted charms. This necklace is typical of those that are custom-made by Scott. The components represent highly personal memories of the owner, who in this case is the artist herself. Evoking assemblage and collage this “accumulation and aggregation of elements” is described by artist Howardena Pindell as “a distinctive characteristic of African aesthetics.”
Maryland to Murano. Glenn Adamson. "Over the last four decades, Scott has honed her craft and delivered striking visual narratives through masterful technical skill, while demonstrating an ongoing interest in collaborating with craftspeople across the globe," says Glenn Adamson, MAD's Nanette L. Laitman Director. "Maryland to Murano indicates the Museum's commitment to presenting jewelry as an innovative art form and to examining how the medium is continually expanding."
Maryland to Murano. Virgin of Guadalupe – 2009 – woven glass beads. Virgin of Guadalupe depicts a motley parade of devils, skeletons, and devotees alongside the Virgin Mary. This beaded neckpiece defies compositional logic as the figures pile onto one another.
Maryland to Murano. Breath – 2014 – hand-blown Murano glass process with beads and thread.