Arts and Entertainment

Larger-than-life sea creatures coming to Bellevue Arts Museum

Top: Paper Lanterns, 2008, Coated copper wire. Bottom: Corals, 2009, Coated copper wire.  - William Gullette photos
Top: Paper Lanterns, 2008, Coated copper wire. Bottom: Corals, 2009, Coated copper wire.
— image credit: William Gullette photos

For almost 40 years, world-renowned jewelry artist Arline Fisch has rarely created anything but jewelry. Creatures from the Deep, originally commissioned by Racine Art Museum in 2008, challenged the artist to bring her work to a grand scale, using knitting and crocheting techniques to create "families" of jellyfish out of her signature color-coated copper wire.

Each of Fisch's "families" in the installation varies dramatically in form and color, suggesting different species of jellies. Suspended in air and swaying together in the galleries, they submerse visitors in a captivating and otherworldly undersea environment. A series of corals and sea anemones rest below, all fabricated in the same very small gauge of wire.

Fisch's Creatures from the Deep will be on view at the museum from June 22 through October 11.

Fisch first explored jellyfish in her silver work in the mid-1960s, fascinated by their many forms and brilliant colors, and then revisited the form in a necklace based on the Lion's Mane Jellyfish in 1999. For this commission, she again chose the creature as her theme, inspired by Racine Art Museum's proximity to the waters of Lake Michigan.

"The larger-than-life sea creatures in Fisch's installation seem right at home in the Puget Sound," says Nora Atkinson, who is curating the local presentation of the exhibition. "I think it will be a real treat, especially for children and families."

Fisch is a perennial figure in the metals community. She is one of the pioneers of the body-jewelry movement of the 1960s and author of the book Textile Techniques in Metal, published in 1975, 1996 and 2001. She currently holds the title of Professor of Art Emerita at San Diego State University.

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