From a curatorial perspective, installing a sculpture exhibition in a retail furniture showroom might not seem to be an ideal viewing experience. But Sculpture Union @ Molecule — the show of works by members of the Santa Fe Community College’s Sculpture Union, currently on view at Molecule Design — does provide an opportunity to get some idea of how a work might fit into your own design aesthetic or home décor. The show plays a game of hide-and-seek, as most of the works are tucked in among contemporary home furnishings — and it’s to Molecule’s credit that you may not always be able to tell the shop’s merchandise from the college’s objets d’art. “One thing that’s kind of nice about showing there is the fact that some people said it was kind of like an Easter egg hunt, looking for the artwork amid all the furnishings,” said Susan Ohori, who has a ceramic sculpture in the show. “It provides a setting in which people can imagine themselves sitting on the sofa and living with the art.”
Sculpture Union @ Molecule is an eclectic mix of functional sculpture and purely sculptural works in a variety of mediums, including metal, ceramics, wood, 3-D printing, and more. While all of the work is by students enrolled in classes at SFCC, not all of them are necessarily in the sculpture department. “You can be in a ceramics class or glass class or a woodworking class,” Ohori said. “You can take advantage of the facilities for the particular class that you’re in. I’m enrolled in both ceramics and sculpture classes.” SFCC faculty and staff also show work with the Sculpture Union. Although the sculpture on view at Molecule are primarily created by students, many are by established working artists in the community such as Nina Mastrangelo, a painter and sculptor who is showing work in kiln-formed glass, ceramic artist Spencer Snyder, and Ohori, a ceramist, host of KSFR’s radio program Beyond Borders, and founder of Ohori’s Coffee. Ohori’s untitled ceramic piece in the exhibition is a smooth white form, punctured with two small slits, that bears a resemblance to a cell in the process of mitosis. The form was inspired by the lingam, a column or oval-shaped Tantric symbol often made of stone, wood, or clay. Her work is a more contemporary, abstract representation.
Sculpture Union members pay a small fee per semester and attend regular meetings. The primary purpose is to provide shows for the members. “The prototype really came from ceramics,” Ohori said. “They have a clay club, which has organized shows once or twice a year that have been extremely successful. Seeing that, people in the sculpture department thought we should do the same thing. We’ve done them at the college, but we felt, because the college is kind of far for people to get to from the rest of town, that attendance wasn’t what we would hope. So we were looking for a space more downtown where people could attend. The show at Molecule was the result of that search.”