Promontory is about the power and intricacy of armor in its many forms, from an unyielding ridge of limestone that has withstood erosive forces, to the armor of warriors throughout history, to the rugged creatures that dominate the arid landscape of the American West.
Shaped by evolution and developed over millennia, the shells and shields protect precious, fragile sources of life, creating tension, mystery, and delight when internal mysteries are revealed.
The Tributary motif is about headwaters and braided streams and also about the nature of tribute, the channeling of materials and processes into something contributory.
The works are anchoring, monumental, and express movement between elements both navigable and rough, high plateaus and shallow estuaries.
A narrow sliver of land with bodies of water on either side, an isthmus is a slender formation that tethers one frontier to another.
A passage, or connective tissue, that joins two otherwise separated masses is the language of the Isthmus series.
Tallow is a series of surface explorations informed by periodic and gradual erosion.
Verticality blends into a range of plateaus, suggesting playful functions and relationships.
Sloop is a fleet of candle holding vessels in which fluid silhouettes compel the eye to travel, and candlelight skims the crests of sculptural texture.
Inspired by ancient ceremonies, Sloop reminds us of floating tributes to transcending, fallen warriors.
The ethos of the Scimitar series embraces rigor, wear, and time by referencing the hard-worn artifacts and bygone aspects of the frontier. Saddles, bridles, and hides are considered.
Each work bears the mark of its making but also the marks of possession, the way it is worn, rendering an utterly personal sculpture unto itself, in iterations over time.
Revere the meaning of things.
In reflecting on Refractory's sister company West Supply, founder Angie West says, “Our story is still unfolding. West Supply's leaders and artisans are the foundation and the reason for Refractory’s emergence and expression, where craft can most intimately inform design as much as design steers, or asks of, the making.
The unparalleled and powerful combination of talent here calls for a new and fearless chapter. The relationship between Refractory and WS lies at the heart of our broader mission: to exemplify to the best of our ability and to support a more robust and fertile chapter in American craft and artisanship, as well as to participate more vigorously in art and civic-scale fabrication and manufacturing in Chicago and the Midwest.”
Artist feature: Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson is an Austin-based cinematographer and photographer, working with magazines such as The New York Times Magazine, Time, The Atlantic, Texas Monthly, Mother Jones, and others.
The artist behind the installation of artisan portraits in the stairwell at Refractory's sister company, West Supply, Wilson's current public art series ESSENTIALS is the definition of inspired: Portraits of Austin’s Essential Women Workers, a community-facing, interactive public art project honoring front-line women workers, portraits printed up to 20 feet tall are wheat-pasted on buildings throughout Austin.
Click here to learn more about her incredibly important work.
Hue and hand
“One can travel this world and see nothing. To achieve understanding it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see.” ~ Giorgio Morandi
To learn to truly see and to contextualize our work within the natural world is one of the many gifts of creativity. A color or hue with a relationship to a mineral or other essence of terrain can convey an emotional and fundamental bond with a viewer.