Vivian Beer at work in her studio.

Vivian Beer

Jun 25 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


Free and open to the public.


The Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies welcomes artist & designer Vivian Beer for a discussion of her work as part of the 2014 Summer Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

Vivian Beer tiptoes through contemporary design, craft and sculptural aesthetics, sampling from each one. She deftly counterbalances a strong knowledge of contemporary furniture design with the history of industry and architecture to create furniture that intends to transform our expectations of and relationships to the domestic landscape. Studio Artist; selected exhibitions: The Mint Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, SOFA Chicago, Palm beach 3, International Contemporary Furniture Fair; representation: Wexler Gallery, PA, The Courthouse Gallery, ME; education: MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art, BFA Maine College of Art; teaching: Haystack, Penland, Peters Valley, Anderson Ranch, SUNY Purchase, Center for Metal Arts; public art and collections: Winslow Park in Portland, ME, Fuller Craft Museum, National Ornamental Metals Museum, Renwick Gallery of The Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Growing up in a rural setting, the development of hand skills and tool use was a part of everyday life. From this Beer went to study sculpture, working as a production blacksmith took me through a study of the decorative arts and in graduate school she fell in love of contemporary design.

Throughout this time a direct relationship to material and process has driven me. Beer chose metal as her partner in crime at the studio, because of its inherent physical/cultural attributes, as well as her intimate relationship with its forming/fabrication. For Beer, the physical process of making, the work (and love of the work), is a part of the design and research process. Her understanding of industry is a direct result of researching technique. With each industry comes a new culture and aesthetic, so within a single material you can have the ornament of jewelry, practicality of an I-beam, and pin up hotness of a sports car.

Beer has always seen herself in relationship to industrial production and design, but as a counterbalance. Her work is primarily “hand-made”-one-off pieces, but she uses the visual cues of modern mass production, combining it with historical ornamentation to make objects with the nostalgia of history and the speed of progress. Today she works with the ideas of sculpture, the everyday heroics of the decorative arts and a hands-on design approach. Her development is not linear but rather moves in reoccurring themes, ever expanding into new industries.