Wendy McAllister Volume 38.2 Preview

Wendy McAllister: Worldly Geometry

ARCTIC SUMMER NECKLACE of vitreous enamel, copper, sterling silver, glass, adjustable 40.6 – 48.3 centimeters length, 2014. Photograph by Victor Wolansky.

ARCTIC SUMMER NECKLACE of vitreous enamel, copper, sterling silver, glass, adjustable 40.6 – 48.3 centimeters length, 2014. Photograph by Victor Wolansky.

At the moment when perfect symmetry acquires the merest hint of imbalance, exacting line begins to waver ever so slightly, and pure, unmodulated color takes on faint tinges of a disparate hue, art leaves the realm of circles, squares and triangles and enters the environs of naturalism. That this transition can be almost imperceptibly smooth, like the gradual increase in volume as one turns the knob of an amplifier, suggests that geometry and nature—the domain of flawless forms and that of imperfect being—are separated not by any wall or gulf but rather by conditions of chance and circumstance that the mind transcends but the material world cannot.

      As Wendy McAllister observes, “there’s math out there in nature. Underneath everything there are patterns of growth. They’re not followed perfectly. There are going to be variations, because maybe a plant didn’t get enough water, or sunlight, or nutrients from the soil. It’s not the perfection that you would get by drawing with a compass and ruler; it’s geometry that has interacted with the stresses of life.”

 

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Glen R. Brown, Professor of Art History and the Art Department’s Director of Graduate Studies at Kansas State University, was interested to learn of Wendy McAllister’s successful career as a ceramicist prior to her focus on enameled jewelry. He was also impressed by the range of exploration exhibited by her enameled jewelry. “It’s obviously driven by a strong curiosity about form,” he observes. “She has explored the gamut from geometry in simple monochromatic shapes to complex asymmetrical arrangements of bright and varied organic elements. It’s highly diverse, but—like the nature that inspires it—it all works!”