Bennett Galleries and Company, located at 5308 Kingston Pike, opened a new exhibition called “Form & Function” on Thursday, Sept. 7. This fine craft exhibition highlighted the works of Robin Surber, Daniel Hale and Nancy Kubale-Wicker. The style of each artist is dramatically different, though they have one thing in common: whimsical art.
Robin Surber, a Knoxville favorite, works with mainly mixed media, like her piece “Italian Morning,” which she made using relaxing, warm colors, metal pieces she found and creative texture. Her paintings are said to tell a story, and she narrates well through the use of random words of wisdom, metal pieces, pages ripped from a book and other found objects, which come together to form each piece. Surber’s style is unique — she uses techniques that most artists wouldn’t think to use.
Daniel Hale of Napa Valley, California, uses all wood for his pieces. Whether it is his statue “Winged Victory,” which depicts an angel-like figure carved of wood with gold, silver and metallic accents, or his eclectic, yet functional, furniture pieces. His custom work is unusual but enthralling at the same time.
“The forms are simple with embellished surfaces and engaging details,” Hale said. “Custom work is welcomed in any setting. It is a synthesis of old and new, and it incorporates common materials in new ways.”
If you go to the exhibition, you will definitely understand what he means and how his work is essential.
“We decided to create a show this month at Bennett’s about artisans that take form to a functional level,” Ginger Dockery, assistant director of Bennett Galleries, said. “Everything that is functional can be an art form. This is most evident in California artist Daniel Hale’s work. Dan studies, builds, models and critiques his pieces to make sure that, although they are functional, they are first and foremost beautiful sculptures. His inspiration comes from a variety of sources, including ancient art, architecture and modern works.”
Nancy Kubale-Wicker works with ceramic as she sculpts impressive pieces. Her sculptures are a textual art. She uses wire accents and metal pieces that add to her diverse style. Her figures are inspiring and have a message behind them. Her ceramic sculpture, “The Sower,” is a perfect example. It features neutral colors and inspirational words written on ceramic tags. Everything about her work brings positive energy and exhorts pure optimism, in rare form.
“Form & Function” is a rare sight worth seeing. The works of these artists are so distinct and well-crafted, that they each contribute something unique to the artistic community and the world of art. These fine crafts exhibit the art of feeling, inspiration and light-heartedness. “Form & Function” is worth a visit; the exhibit ends Sept. 27. Plus, the store itself offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
“Everything in here is from an artist,” Dockery said.
The Bennett Galleries’ collections represent more than 200 artisans. Dockery said they have exhibited about 80 gallery artists. They deal in furniture, antiques, jewelry, fine art, ceramics, candles, framing, linens and even perfumes, lotions and soaps. The store also has stuffed animals for children and design and fine art books. It is an especially good place to shop for dishes and dining items. The staff includes professional interior designers.
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