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Hand-wrought Brass Tray

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray. American, 1962-

Created: 1998
Dimensions: H 6" x W 48" x D 30"

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray produces both jewelry and figurative objects which further blur the already elusive lines between craft, art, and design. A metalsmith and educator, she is currently a professor of art in the metals program at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She received her B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Art and M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Mimlitsch-Gray’s ambitious Hand-Wrought Brass Tray refers to a functional piece of tableware, but could never be confused as functional: it is too large and monumental to be usable. The traditional form is dramatized even more by depressions in the brass meant to mimic outsize hammer blows. Historically, works in silver were designated as incomplete by thumbprints or hammer marks that hadn’t yet been smoothed out. During the late nineteenth century, however, metalsmiths deliberately left such marks intact to distinguish their work from industrially-produced wares. Mimlitsch-Gray’s magnified hammer marks expose these “flaws” as evidence of a handcrafted object, thereby entering into a dialogue with the history of her field.

Museum Purchase: A Gift in honor of Bruce and Margo Evans 2000.35