"Transcending Textile Structures:
Weaving and Lace Making with Metal"
Artist Talk -- Ruth’s Table Gallery, San Francisco, CA
August 1, 2019
Photo Credit (LTOR): Morgan Murphy; Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography; Morgan Murphy
“Ruth’s Table is honored to invite you to join us for an evening with Barbara M. Berk, artist and award-winning jewelry designer in the Bay Area.
“Berk will discuss the interplay of traditional textile techniques with precious and industrial metals with classic metalsmithing techniques that utilize modern tools. The physical properties and working characteristics of her materials dictate her structures and designs. High karat gold and platinum are used in small and dense wearable sculptures, while … stainless steel and phosphor bronze enable Berk to play with volume and scale, creating wall-mounted, hanging, and free-standing sculptures.
“Berk is one of 17 artists participating in the first exhibition of the Bauhaus Centenary program that is dedicated to the women in textile design and weaving. In her presentation, Berk will give an overview of her career spanning more than two decades and show examples of her award-winning jewelry, which are hand woven with gold and platinum threads. She will also present her newest body of work, which uses industrial metals that enable her to work large, off the body. No longer limited by the function and size requirements of wearability, the new direction presents challenges that Berk is happy to encounter.
“Anyone who comes across her hand-woven metal work wonders about its intricacy, delicacy, elegance and precision. Berk will relate her personal journey from stitching, knitting, and embroidery with silk and wool to weaving and lace-making with metal sheet and wire – from domestic crafts to fine arts. By choosing metalsmithing, traditionally a male occupation, Berk joins the ranks of talented contemporary female metalworkers who position themselves to claim their place in history.
“Our goal is to build awareness around the broad array of different metal techniques that borrow from textiles and weavings, from the old traditional to the contemporary. This public presentation [held in conjunction with the exhibition “Beyond the Warp and Weft: The Enduring Legacy of the Bauhaus”] is expected to generate a conversation among artists, makers and the public about the enduring legacy of Bauhaus ideas and innovations that Berk represents so well.
“Ruth’s Table is a center for creative learning rooted in the life of Ruth Asawa. Curator Hanna Regev conceived a series of four exhibitions and public talks at Ruth’s Table as a way to join the Bauhaus 100th anniversary with the rest of the world. In curating the program, Regev sees Berk as a bridge to Ruth Asawa’s monumental wire sculptures that found their genesis at the Bauhaus-inspired Black Mountain College.”
Learn more about the Exhibition “Beyond the Warp and Weft: The Enduring Legacy of the Bauhaus” at www.barbaraberkdesigns.com/ruthstable.
Learn more about Ruth’s Table programs and upcoming series at ruthstable.org.