Every quarter, the UC Davis Craft Center Gallery presents two exhibitions to share the work of instructors and volunteers. At the center, artists have the opportunity to truly reflect their artistic personality and aesthetic to the public.
Kicking off this winter’s run is Impromptu, which features pieces by flamework instructor Kim-Xuan Nguyen. The exhibit will be open from now until Feb. 4, with an opening reception on Jan. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Impromptu is a collection of flamework pieces channeling elements of nature, from redwood burl to sawdust left by insects. Every piece crafted was done so in a way that let the flames take control. Ngyuen attributes her love for improvisation to her roots as a pianist, though her style hasn’t always been so free.
“I’ve started out very controlled in most of the mediums I’ve worked with (and I started out playing classical music), but as I’ve gained control and confidence, it frees me to be more playful,” Nguyen said.
According to Nguyen, improvisation allows her to channel a special connection with her all-time muse: the diversity of nature.
“When working on more ‘improvised’ pieces and with more free-flowing techniques, I feel like I have a different mindset and have to engage with what I’m doing more as I react to unexpected moves of the glass,” Nguyen said.
Craft Center coordinator Jordan Schaub noted nothing but excitement for the outcome of Impromptu.
“Kim has been a long-time flameworking instructor, so it’s no secret that she produces amazing pieces,” Schaub said. “Even in her ‘impromptu’ work, you can see intricacy, grace and her years of experience all complementing each other in the unique blend of different media.”
Schaub noted her personal appreciation for improvisation, describing it as a way to exercise one’s creative potential.
“A lot of times, [people] do things the way they’ve been laid out for us to do and we forget to explore outside of those bounds,” Schaub said. “I like that Kim went outside of the norm and created something spectacular and awe-inspiring.”
To catch Nguyen’s current project, stop by the UC Davis Craft Center Gallery. The gallery is located at the South Silo Building. For more information, visit Impromptu’s event page.