Detail, Striped Panel 2013 by Emma Biggs.Read More
You may have noticed the renaissance of mosaic art, or maybe just subconsciously until now. It's in the movies and commercials you're watching, the magazines you're reading, as well as top museums, galleries and distinguished collectors homes.
As mosaic artists for the past 20 years, we've been educators. When asked what we do it's often a two part question. After we say we make Mosaic art, we're asked, "You mean with broken china and smashed tiles?" Of course every artist has their own style of work, but the question conjures up the children's craft flower pot project or the third world decorator tabletop. I can't help but wonder if painters had this same difficult beginning... did Da Vinci have to say, "no really I'm a Fine art painter".
So what does this renaissance mean for you? Museum quality fine art mosaic that will be in the Sotheby's Auction block for 5-6 figures one day is now within reach for middle income buyers. If you wait until it's common knowledge, the prices will rise beyond the average person's budget.
One of the main reasons the price increase is expected is that it takes weeks, months and years to create one piece of work, and it's a specialty art medium that requires years of practice. Although there is a rising student population globally, many of the artists who are working at the highest fine art levels have been making mosaics for 30+ years.
Like fine art painting, it involves composition, design elements, understanding of color but also shadow, reflectivity, dimension, and the limited palette creates the need for the artist to understand visual color blending. These are not common crafters breaking shards and just puzzle piecing them together. It's an art form with rich history, it's own language of rules and time tested ways to arrange the pieces. Contemporary mosaic masters sometimes follow the rules and sometimes break them intentionally.
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"One of the things I love about this exhibition is that it merges the timeless with the timely. It's truly an interior designer's dream with works in shades of gray, black, white, cream, soft blues, terra cotta in rough, shiny, spiky and smooth materials in shapes and sizes that are perfect over a chest or sofa, on a mantle or shelf. It's an historic art form that has proven to last millennia yet the contemporary interpretations are right on track with current trends." says Vicki Hanson-Burkhart organizer of the Pattern Now Exhibition and Principal at M3.
And this is no ordinary juried show, it's curated by world leading UK artist Emma Biggs, whose own work graces the walls of Westminster Cathedral, the National Portrait Gallery, public spaces in Canary Wharf, celebrity and governmental homes, the list goes on and on. Biggs' work is most closely associated with an interest in color and pattern. She has a discerning eye and hand which is why Mosaic Workshop, the company she started in 1987 in London became the UK's most thriving mosaic studio. Biggs divides her time between making mosaics, large scale installations and small fine art panels, making collaborative award winning paintings with her husband Matthew Collings, and occasionally when prompted she still teaches the many hungry young mosaicists seeking her wisdom. (She's teaching in Houston in May 2014.)
Biggs describes the exhibit in her wonderful British accent, "Part of the excitement of this show is the scope it offers the viewer to observe and reassess the games artists play with the pleasure of visual clarity versus visual confusion. Some work may seem to deliver all its secrets on first viewing, some are slower to burn, and some, like the marvelous work of Ilana Shafir, has an immediacy of effects, combined with a highly sophisticated confusion." (More to come on Ilana Shafir, 90 year old Holocaust survivor/grande dame of mosaic art.)
The exhibit includes work from leading contemporary mosaicists from 8 countries; the US, Israel, Japan, Italy, Egypt, Brazil, Portugal and the UK.
Open March 7 - April 23, 2014 at the Gateway Regional Arts Center, 101 E. Main St., Mt. Sterling, KY 40353. Hours Tue - Fri, 10 am - 5 pm, Sat, 11:30 am - 4:30 pm, Closed Sun and Mon. Phone: 859-498-6264
View the Artwork by Artist in PATTERN NOW XIV.