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2014 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Ebendorf

Robert EbendorfFor the past twenty-five years, Robert Ebendorf has been re-purposing existing materials by devising ingenious uses for the discarded and discovering ways to make the used into the new. Known for jewelry that includes everything from buttons to crab claws, he continues in his investigations into “representations.”

Ebendorf’s conceptual approach to jewelry questions the nature of adornment itself and explores alternative materials and ideas about the preciousness of jewelry. The creativity of his jewelry lies not only in the intellectual repositioning of familiar objects, but more in the physical transformations of materials that astonish the viewer. It is exactly this sense of astonishment that gives his pieces their value. The profound incongruity between what his pieces are made from, and what they become in his hands, engages the imagination.

Ebendorf’s objects are not simply about refashioning the mundane, they elevate the value of what might otherwise be thrown away or overlooked. By reassessing the meaning of the artifacts of daily life, his pieces often reverse the idea of what is precious. If the purpose of art is to locate and reaffirm values in our world, then this work is a most relevant mode of contemporary expression.

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2013 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Gary Griffin

Gary S. Griffin is a practicing metalsmith living and working in El Rito, New Mexico.  Griffin was born in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1945 and grew up in Southern California and the Southwest.  He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Long Beach and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.  He retired after 32 years of post graduate teaching as Artist in Residence and Head of the Metalsmithing Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1984-2006) and previously at the School for American Craftsmen, Rochester Institute of Technology (1974-1984).  The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, Griffin has exhibited extensively in the United States, Mexico, South America, Japan and Europe.

In 1988, Griffin was an invited participant in the National Ornamental Metal Museum’s exhibition Masters of American Metalsmithing, and his work was chosen for the American Craft Museum’s inaugural exhibition Craft Today:  Poetry of the Physical. Over a two-year period this exhibition was presented at the Denver Art Museum, the Laguna Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the J. B. Speed Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.  His work was also included in Craft Today USA, an exhibition organized by the American Craft Museum, which toured from 1989 to 1993 through France, Finland, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, the former U.S.S.R., Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Sweden and Spain.  His work “Garden Gate” was chosen for the exhibition Art That Works:  The Decorative Arts of the Eighties, Crafted in America.  This exhibition premiered at the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina in August, 1990 and toured thirteen additional museums within the United States through 1993.  In the 1995 exhibition, Interventions, Griffin was invited to install a work in the Rivera Court of The Detroit Institute of Arts.  In 1999, he installed his solo exhibition Signs:  Sentimental at New York SOFA with JewelersWerk Galerie.  In the fall, 2001, his work was included in Objects for Use:  Handmade by Design at the American Craft Museum in New York.
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