A lovely visit to ‘Designated Areas’

Happy Wine Set by Yael Shomroni. Photo courtesy of Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design.

By Sarah Weinman

Let me be honest about the all-media exhibition Designated Areas at Craft Alliance – Delmar: It’s beautiful. The juror, David Conradsen, has a decorative arts background and selected pieces that emphasize form, color, texture, and technique; in other words, pieces that are beautiful and pleasing to behold. I had trouble choosing only three to discuss.

The title Shimmering, which Michael Bauermeister gave his linden wood and tinted lacquer piece, couldn’t be more appropriate. A rectangle of carved wood, it is approximately 2½’ x 3’ x ¾” thick. The artist warped it so that it appears to undulate. Carved depressions cover the surface; Bauermeister tinted them lighter or darker to produce the illusion of a shifting sea of sand. The piece seems to move of its own accord.

Visually and psychologically pleasing, Yael Shomroni’s stoneware Happy Wine Set is a humorous take on traditional objects. The two wine glasses and decanter have a metallic green glaze like the patina on bronze. The glasses lean on their stems and the decanter’s neck bends forward, as if the set became tipsy from its own contents. Its rounded forms seem almost biological; they possess an organic quality, like a plant or undersea organism. Shomroni throws her work on a wheel, then assembles, glazes, and fires it. She lived in Jerusalem for several years and worked as a bartender in bars which welcomed Palestinians and Israelis. She explains, “My current work is a homage to [the] brief moment when [all of these people] co-existed.”

Beauty and mysticism come together in Leslie Uljee’s 2’ x 3’ quilted piece titled Awash.  She created the work with cotton-blend fabric, acrylic paint, polyester, batting, and metallic thread. The stitching on the sand-colored background resembles contour lines on a map. Uljee painted irregular shapes in brilliant turquoise to convey bodies of water.  In the middle of the piece, three sand-colored rectangles of cloth each contain a smaller aquamarine rectangle.  The artist pictured the work as “water and earth as viewed from above” and explains that the three rectangles are “doorways to a spiritual reality that includes but also transcends the terrestrial landscape.”


Designated Areas is on view at Craft Alliance – Delmar through March 1.  The gallery is located at 6640 Delmar Blvd. in the Loop.  Gallery hours are Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and closed Mondays. For more information, call 314-725-1177 ext. 322 or visit www.craftalliance.org.