UNC Wilmington's Randall Library Honors Two Glass Artists, Penland School of Crafts as 2011 N.C. Living Treasures

Living Treasure Richard Ritter's "Floral Core"

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Every two years, the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Randall Library and Museum of World Cultures celebrate the value of artists and their talents, art and contributions to education and society by designating recipients of the North Carolina Living Treasures Award.

The 2011 N.C. Living Treasures are two renowned glass artists, Mark Peiser and Richard Ritter. In addition, the Penland School of Crafts is being honored for its mission in supporting "individual and artistic growth through craft." Exhibitions associated with the 2011 N.C. Living Treasures awards will be presented at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington from Nov. 30, 2011 through April 1, 2012.

A medallion ceremony honoring the 2011 N.C. Living Treasures will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the Cameron Art Museum from 5 to 6 p.m., with the opening reception for the exhibitions taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. Although the medallion ceremony is BY INVITATION ONLY, media are welcome to attend and cover the event. The exhibition opening is open to the general public. Visual and interview opps include awarding of the NC Living Treasures medallions, interviews with the artists and a tour of the exhibits.

"By shining a spotlight on North Carolina artisans who have distinguished themselves, the award helps to foster an environment in which craft is understood and valued," said Sarah Barbara Watstein, UNCW's university librarian.

Since its inception in 1986, the N.C. Living Treasures award has recognized boatwrights, potters, luthiers, marqueters, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, weavers and glass artisans. The award is made possible by an endowment from Martin Meyerson, MD, in memory of his mother Dorothy Meyerson. 2011 nominations were reviewed by a panel of judges including UNCW faculty and staff, members of the local arts community and a member of the North Carolina Arts Council.

The three exhibitions opening in the Hughes Wing at the Cameron Art Museum are Murrinis within a Crystal Matrix: The Poetic Glassworks of Richard Ritter, Mark Peiser: Reflections on the Palomar Mirror and Penland School of Crafts: Evolution and Imagination. Thematically tied, both Peiser and Ritter attended Penland School of Crafts. The school is an international leader in the evolution of craft education, located in western N.C.

Mark Peiser's exhibition reinterprets a 1934 world event: the historic 20-ton glass casting of the 200-inch Hale Telescope mirror. In a second casting, this largest single piece of glass ever made is now a component of the Palomar Observatory in California. Peiser's contemporary glass sculptures capture the scale and honeycomb pattern of the legendary mirror, an advancement leading astronomers to the first direct evidence of stars in distant galaxies.

In his exhibition, Richard Ritter reveals his complex "murrini" process-a technically intensive development of complex patterns and decorations. Murrinis first reached a high level of sophistication in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and are still seen in the millefiori glass of Italy today.

Craft is rooted in the fundamental human impulse to use mind and hands to transform basic materials into objects of beauty and utility, which is reflected in the third exhibition, Penland School of Crafts: Evolution and Imagination. This exhibition explores Penland historically and today, featuring examples of some of the finest work in glass, ceramic, textiles, jewelry and other mediums in two- and three-dimensions.

For more information about the museum, please visit www.cameronartmuseum.com.

The North Carolina Living Treasures medallion ceremony occurs every two years. The last medallions awarded in 2009 to potters Cynthia Bringle and Norman Schulman. Information about the award can be found at http://library.uncw.edu/museum/treasures.html.

For more information about Randall Library, please visit http://library.uncw.edu/.

Media contact:
Dana Fischetti, media relations manager, UNCW, 910.508.3127 or fischettid@uncw.edu