Robert Ebendorf ’s jewel-encrusted King of the Road is a small but shiny work in which a little skull sits atop a crushed Coca-Cola can, its diamond eyes shining malevolently. The bright red can sparkles, and the skull is crowned with jewels and has a small, diamond-shaped metal object in the middle of its forehead.
It’s an intense piece of work, and it’s part of “Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals,” a traveling exhibition on view at Gallery 1 in the Fine Arts Building of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
God Bless America: Commemorative Ribbon is a large, copper ribbon made of pennies, and if you look closely you can see a multitude of little Abraham Lincolns creating a pattern across the piece. The ribbon idea came from artist Stacey Lee Webber’s northeast Philadelphia neighborhood, where commemorative ribbons frequently hang on row house doors.
Kim Cridler’s Bittersweet is a vessel made of black wire with snakes on one side and flowers and bees on the other. One of the snakes twists around above the other, its jewel eyes glowing. The other snake holds an egg in its mouth, while the small clump of flowers and the nearby bees on the other side of the vessel add color and a decorative element that contrasts with the swirling dynamism of the snakes.
With a title that is as much fun as the work itself, How to Wear a Famous Painter by Emanuella Deyanova Ramjuly is an artist’s paintbrush made into a ring that you can put on a finger. The materials used to make this piece include hair, aluminum, silver and gold.
From Ornament to Plain No. 8 by Carolina Hornauer Olivares has a bit of a back story: After the 2010 earthquake in Chile, the artist gathered remnants of historic buildings that had been destroyed and began using them to make a series of small sculptures. The work on view in Gallery 1 is a group of five objects that the artist has brought together to make a visually coherent whole.
Gothic Revival Brooch (The sublime & the beautiful) by Diane Falkenhagen was inspired by a 19th-century painting by German artist Caspar David Friedrich. The artist has created a 3-D sculptural form with ribbed vaults and pointed arches. Behind the sculptural elements is an oval image that appears to be derived from the original work by Friedrich.
A debt to Picasso and Cubism is apparent in Lisa and Scott Cylinder’s brooch, Red Guitarist. The guitarist sits inside a wooden box, metallic, solid-looking and a bit whimsical.
There is a strength and simplicity to Blue Box Series: Beacon by Stephen Yusko. The sturdy-looking, vertical blue building is made of steel that has had its charcoal-gray roof removed and placed neatly beside it.
The Elizabeth R. Rapheal Founder’s Prize was awarded to Meghan Patrice Riley for Interstitial. Riley, using a wire cutter, pliers and a ruler, snipped, measured and snapped together a necklace using line drawings as a guide. Her intention was to create a graphical Mobius strip using stainless-steel wire and sterling silver tubing. The finished piece is a series of interconnected circles that have the playful feel of a Paul Klee line drawing and the elegance of a necklace. A video of Riley demonstrating her methods can be see at youtube.com/watch?v=BznB627-um0.
There a numerous other works worthy of consideration here, and there’s plenty of time to stop by, as the show continues at UALR through Oct. 2.
“Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals”Through Oct. 2. UALR Gallery 1, in the Fine Arts Building at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, (501) 569-3182. Hours are 9-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m.-5p.m. Sundayualr.edu/art/galleries/current-exhibitions/