Category: Critical Commentary

Photography of Personal Adornment by Robert Liu


A few years ago, I began to study photography because I wanted to better understand the presentation of any given image. With the arrival of Robert Liu’s book, Photography of Personal Adornment*, my education has been greatly facilitated. These days when our attention is always at risk of being diverted, the power of a strong photograph is of greater importance than ever. Although this book is a more serious approach than many “how to photograph your stuff” manuals, Liu carefully guides the reader toward taking more professional and striking photographs. What Liu, master photographer, artist and co-editor of the esteemed magazine,

Transcending Technique


Since the first Terra Nova symposium in Racine, WI in Oct. 2011, there has been persistent chat about the future of polymer art.  The last 25 -30 years have been exciting as artists focused on exploring the properties of the medium.  What could polymer do and how did one do it?  While expertise in these areas will continue to evolve as artists resolve problems, technical innovation is no longer the driving objective.  So what now? 

Steal like an Artist

Sonny King, The City, 2005, detail

Austin Kleon’s new book, Steal Like an Artist, offers lots of insights into the work and process of art making but how does it specifically relate to polymer?   Kleon, who is both a writer and an artist, nails the crucial issue in his title.   What is it to “steal like an artist”?  Isn’t our cultural ideal to be original in all ways, so why

What To Call It?

Polymer Blocks

Polymer, polymer clay, FIMO, Sculpey, Premo, Katoclay, Cernit?   Have you ever wondered how and why this colored, synthetic modeling material got its common name?   Prior to 1990 both artists and publications describe the material using a brand name like FIMO or polyform with a modifier such as “modeling compound”.  There is no mention of either “polymer” or “clay”.

Curatorial Impressions


After spending an intense week in New Jersey working on the polymer collection project, several things came into focus.  While examining, cataloging and organizing about a thousand pieces of work, it was very exciting to view the progress of the medium.