“Labour and Wait” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Jane Wilbraham, Index, 2010-11. Sycamore. Courtesy of Hales Gallery, London. Image courtesy of the artist and Hales Gallery, London. © Jane Wilbraham

It has become trendy in recent years to denounce the widespread “McDonaldisation” of society and the loss of traditional professions that require one to work with one’s hands. “Labour and Wait”, a new group exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, delivers a brilliant riposte to these criticisms by highlighting contemporary culture’s preoccupation with physical labour and handcrafted objects. The exhibition title is adapted from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “A Psalm of Life”, which extols living life to its fullest and alludes to the rewards of craftsmanship.

is one of the influential figures whose works are displayed in the exhibition. His extensive repertoire includes tapestries and ceramic pots inspired by medieval designs. Also featured are works by the very talented , who is inspired by early American craft techniques and the practice of historical re-enactment. , who frequently incorporates store-bought materials and found objects into his work, presents Orrery, an installation depicting a woman at a spinning wheel made from plastic bottles. Other celebrated artists represented in the show include , the duo , and .

“Labour and Wait” runs until 22 September. 

, 1130 State Street, Santa Barbara, California

All images courtesy of the artists and the galleries.

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