Peaches + Keen ‘Botanical Calamity’ @ Modern Times

27 03 2014

Oh you all know of my fondness of Peaches + Keen. It’s unashamed I tell you.

The colourific ladies have a show of some new prints in ‘Botanical Calamity‘ at Modern Times.



It’s not a gallery space but one of my favourite kinds of stores, a mid-century furniture store … be still my beating-for-rosewood heart! And for my mind the beautiful prints sit quite a peace next to the gorgeous furniture.

The new work continues to showcase their love of nature. The motifs are delicate, gold-leaf is used sparingly for highlights (but for the outrageously fabulous cactus, where it is generously applied to fabulous effect) and their playful feel for combining colour is evident.



I think I say this about every one of Peaches + Keen’s exhibitions – it was a delight and a joy. I always walk away from their shows with a smile.

Botanical Calamity‘ is at Modern Times until 3rd April 2014.

Other shows from Peaches + Keen:

Herbert Hofmann awards at Schmuck 2014

22 03 2014

It’s a little late, and you’re likely to know this already …
The winners of the Herbert Hofmann Award at Schmuck 2014 were announced on 15th March 2014.

  • Iris Bodemer of Germany

    Iris Bodemer, Brooch Relief II, 2013, silver. Photo Iris Bodemer.

    Iris Bodemer, Brooch Relief II, 2013, silver. Photo Iris Bodemer.

  • Akihiro Ikeyama from Japan

    Akihiro Ikeyama, brooch Holey Holye Abnorm, 2013. Antlers, stainless steel, paint. Photo Akihiro Ikeyama

    Akihiro Ikeyama, brooch Holey Holye Abnorm, 2013. Antlers, stainless steel, paint. Photo Akihiro Ikeyama

  • Noon Passama from Japan, living in Holland

    Noon Passama, brooch Portrait Nr. 3, 2013, fur, leather, silver, gilt brass. Photo Noon Passama.

    Noon Passama, brooch Portrait Nr. 3, 2013, fur, leather, silver, gilt brass. Photo Noon Passama.

For more images, check out the online catalogue : it is super fantastic that this is available.

Many have written about Schmuck and Talente 2014: including this post by Naomi Rachel Muirhead and Art Aurea magazine.

Dates for next year have been announced : 11th – 15th March 2015.
Perhaps a trip is in order…

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor’ exhibition

10 03 2014

I’m terribly disappointed. I was hoping to get to this exhibition personally, but haven’t been able to – a combination of work commitments, driving stamina failure, and the Morwell coal mine fire ruining my original plans.

The exhibition ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor – 100 Women 100 Brooches 100 Stories‘ at the LaTrobe Gallery is the last showing of this long-touring exhibition supported by the Museum & Gallery Services of Queensland.

click on image for original source

click on image for original source

Exhibition media: “This exhibition celebrates the 2011 centenary of International Women’s Day, and the old rhyme was a starting point for 100 of Australia’s finest women jewellers to make a brooch in response to the professional achievements of 100 Australian women in every field imaginable—from tinker to tailor, bishop to soldier, bullocky to lawyer.

I wanted to see this exhibition so much and read the stories behind the pieces – but I have settled (for now) with reading the education kit produced alongside the show. It has thumbnail images (understandably of low quality) of each piece and a little snippet of story for each woman.

It is a poor substitute I know, for how wonderful it would have been to see the 100 pieces together; to see their scale and texture and from different angles, and how they play off each other …

I’ve also ordered the exhibition catalogue and hopefully that’ll arrive soon.

Sigh, while it’s super fabulous that this exhibition has toured regional centers, I do wish it could have come to Melbourne.

For further reading:

  • an essay by Dorothy Erickson on Craft Australia website (with some more images)
  • and another essay by Kirsten Fitzpatrick also on Craft Australia
  • Ari Athan’s blog post about her brooch
  • Nicole Bannerman’s page about her brooch
  • Katherine Bowman’s blog post about her brooch
  • Melissa Cameron’s blog post about her brooch
  • Jess Dare’s page about her brooch
  • Anna Davern’s blog post about her brooch
  • a page including Carolyn Delzoppo’s brooch
  • Yuko Fujita’s blog post about her brooch
  • a story about Barbara Heath’s brooch
  • Sheridan Kennedy’s post about her brooch
  • Julie Kiefel’s blog post about her brooch
  • Peta Kruger’s blog post about her brooch
  • Christel van der Laan’s page about her brooch
  • Cinnamon Lee’s page about her brooch
  • Katheryn Leopoldseder’s blog post about her brooch
  • Coconut Lu’s blog post about her brooch
  • Sim Luttin’s blog post about her brooch
  • Jessica Morrison’s blog post about her brooch
  • Pheobe Porter’s page about her brooch
  • Elizabeth Shaw’s blog post about her brooch
  • Rebecca Ward’s page about her brooch

Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor‘ is at La Trobe Regional Gallery until 6th April 2014.

Past exhibition: ‘The Jewels of JAR’

24 02 2014

A recent post by Marcus Banyan (ArtBlart) pointed me to a current exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – Jewels by JAR.

The photographs on his post, and the museum website, reminded me of the exhibition JAR pieces I saw in London many moons ago; apparently the only previous one of his work.

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

From memory there was no lighting in the rooms, or perhaps only the barest to be able to navigate oneself safely about. My memory is of visitors being furnished with their own little flashlight to illuminate each piece in the wall-recessed display cabinets. Looking at photographs of the current show, it seems that the lighting is within the vitrines and no-one has flashlights – I wonder if I imagined that part?

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

I especially liked this text from one of the catalogue essays: “Every piece, once it is ready to be sold, comes with the ghost of the person who will eventually wear it.” (‘Solace’ by Frederick Seidel, 2002, included text); while I’m not convinced I can see souls haunting these particular objects, I do like the idea in general.

However I do remember at the time realising that I would never make pieces like this – not the least because of the incredible technique I’d need to master, but due to my aversion to all things representative.

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

If you do happen to go to the current JAR exhibition, prepare to be dazzled, metaphorically and physically (just do a simple google image search and you’ll know what I’m saying). It could almost be too much of a good thing with over 400 pieces. For interest, there was a rather brutal review of the show in the NY Times.

The Jewels of JAR‘ was held in the Gilbert Collection at Somerset House, London from 2nd November 2002 – 26 January 2003.

Melbourne Now ‘Contemporary Jewellery’ @ NGV

19 02 2014

I must admit to being rather ambivalent about this mega-exhibition-event. ‘Melbourne Now‘ is a huge collection of shows and events, staged by National Gallery of Victoria, spread across the two main galleries and many other locations.

Why haven’t I been overwhelmingly excited (like many others it seems)? Perhaps it’s just me, but I found the exhibition website difficult to navigate and frankly confusing. It felt awkward to get a handle on all that was happening (I’ve used the word ‘bamboozled’ more than once when discussing it). Looking at the website this week though it feels less tricksy; perhaps it has evolved over the length of the exhibition.

Eventually I found my way to the ‘Contemporary Jewellery‘ exhibition.

on the landing of floor 3 of NGV international

on the landing of floor 3 of NGV international; not sure why some of the lighting looks yellow (my camera isn’t very fancy to figure such things out)

Exhibition media: “Melbourne is recognised as a leading centre for the production of contemporary jewellery. Presented via a mild steel armature designed by Melbourne architecture firm Muir Mendes, this installation presents diverse technical, material and conceptual approaches to jewellery, including millennia-old craft traditions and innovative new methods.

Am I being especially sensitive to be a little uncertain about the show being on the landing? It’s a good use of the space sure, a high traffic area and therefore providing good exposure; though it’s not exactly high status … or is it in fact the highest status, with not being hidden in a room? Well, now I’m just unsure about it.
The cases are sleek though; I liked them.


Meredith Turnbull, Stephen Gallagher, Phoebe Porter

Participating artists (reverse-alphabetical by surname, as per Melbourne Now listing):

  • Meredith Turnbull, Blanche Tilden
  • Lousje Skala
  • Emma Price, Phoebe Porter, Nicole Polentas, Tiffany Parbs
  • David Neale
  • Vicki Mason, Sally Marsland, Carlier Makigawa
  • Manon van Kouswijk
  • Marian Hosking, Kirsten Haydon, Jo Hawley
  • Allona Goren, Stephen Gallagher
  • Maureen Faye-Chauhan
  • Mark Edgoose
  • Bin Dixon-Ward
  • Nicholas Bastin, Roseanne Bartley, Robert Baines

There are links for each of the artists on the exhibition page.

For me the most outstanding object was by Robert Baines (below) – the colouring and construction are a progression from recent work, and I love that it’s new and I haven’t seen it before. It’s a crazy kind of coral growth in purples and pinks and silvery-whites and gold. Outrageous and fabulous.
I would like to take it home with me … anyone want to donate it to my place?

Robert Baines

Robert Baines

It isn’t a simple matter to just list the other pieces I liked, for there were many indeed. That said though, Meredith Turnbull’s work is stunning and certainly worth mentioning.

In an adjacent room Meredith has also created a space and materials for children to create their own neckpieces and add to the wall display. This was a total delight and a wonderful way to bring the little ones into the art and making world.

neckpieces on display

neckpieces on display

It’s worth exploring the other rooms on the same floor.
I thought the collection of Prue Venables‘s ‘Tea Strainers‘ were beautiful.
And the watercolour faces of Sangeeta Sandrasegar were evocative and thoughtful (VettiLiveinNorthcote showcases this work too).

I did look about on the other floors, though am sad to report that nothing there took my heart or mind. I’m kind of disappointed, as I was hoping to be swept away and amazed. Perhaps though it was just my frame of mind on the day…

Mark Holsworth of Black Mark blog wrote about it; and I especially liked his connection of the event branding colour to the ‘Yellow Peril’.

Marcus Banyan, of ArtBlart blog, has written at length also (part1, part2); I agree with his overview and particularly responded to his summary on the first post.

Melbourne Now‘ is at NGV and other locations until 23rd March 2014.


Update (a few hours after initial publication): Since writing the above I’ve been wondering – does anyone know how the artists were selected to be part of this exhibition? I’m fairly certain it wasn’t by open submission or application; perhaps invitation or curator selection or gallery recommendation?

Of the 23 makers, there are two emerging (early career) artists only a few years out of university. Many of the artists are probably best described as early or mid-career; and quite a number are established.

It could be suggested that a ‘now‘ exhibition would do well to include more work from the newer makers or even from students (or more experimental individuals). That said though, it must be acknowledged that the strength of the Melbourne jewellery community is its diversity and support across ‘experience’ depth, so including all levels is perfectly reasonable.

Looking at the artist biographies, it looks like there aren’t any who have not undertaken formal education – even though the text on the wall mentions the richness of the community including self-taught makers.

Still much to think about.


Update (21st February): Marcus’s text I mention above is worth reproducing here for your reading enjoyment (with author permission): “As with any group exhibition there are highs and lows, successes and failures. Totally over this fad for participatory art spread throughout the galleries. Too much deconstructed/performance/collective design art that takes the viewer nowhere. Good effort by the NGV but the curators were, in some cases, far too clever for their own (and the exhibitions), good. 7/10“.

Also worth reading is the review that Marcus also quotes: that in the Sydney Morning Herald – it’s pretty scathing by my reading.

One of my favourite statements: “… the exhibition is an act of metropolitan navel-gazing on a scale inconceivable in any other Australian capital. The catalogue is filled with references to Melbourne’s global status and international sophistication, but this event is insular and tribal almost by definition.”


Thankfully I knew my interest (energy and attention) limitations and only wanted to look at the one aspect of the whole show (for which I am unashamed) – for just reading about the whole shebang makes me reel and feel like I’m drowning (and we come back to my initial impression of the bamboozle).


Caz Guiney @ Personal Space Project

6 02 2014

This is my first review-from-afar of an exhibition. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Is it possible even? Well, this post will go some way as to tell if I can do it justice.

Regular readers are familiar with my admiration for Zoe Brand – the lady is a visionary. She has set up a gallery in her bedroom: Personal Space Project. If you don’t already know about it, you must.

The current show (for the month of February) is work by Caz Guiney.

exhibition media; click on image for original source; used with permission

exhibition media; click on image for original source; used with permission

How beautiful is the display? I love it.

Zoe documents the exhibition so wonderfully with images on her website that I think I have a feel enough for it to be able to write a little about it, even though I haven’t visited the space in person. If there were many more items, and the space larger than could fit in one photograph, then I would suggest the task of getting a feel for the cohesiveness of the work would be quite difficult. Thankfully it’s perfectly compact and made accessible.

I was especially intrigued by the introduction in the exhibition text: “In this work Guiney explores the difficult and perhaps even ethical situation that many jewellers face; what do you do when you have a potential goldmine just casually tucked away in boxes under your bed?

that's my name don't wear it out  (2014); image used with permission; click on image for original source

that’s my name don’t wear it out (2014); image used with permission; click on image for original source

More of the exhibition media: “This series examines the process of revisiting old jewellery projects and explores the possibility of liberating them from the archival tissue, the zip lock bag and bubble wrap to give them another opportunity to shine, communicate and tell stories. The particular project from which these works have been emancipated is Precious Nothing (2008)…

And seriously beautiful new art objects these are.

I especially love the one above; the composition is fabulous with all the young fellows admiring their friend’s swanky chest adornment. It’s like he’s saying: ‘yeah, I know, it is pretty ace isn’t it’ … and feeling all proud of himself that he’s made his mates envious … and stuff …

(left) i know you are but what am i (2014) & (right) your dumb and i'm not (2014); used with permission; click on image for original source

(left) i know you are but what am i (2014) & (right) your dumb and i’m not (2014); used with permission; click on image for original source

The titles are adorably childish and viciously insightful; given the looks on the faces of the children you couldn’t think of a better title when you see them. I remember saying things just like that to my family when I was a kid. So naughty. And I like that cheekiness combined with the black and white somewhat dorky images (from knitting patterns), succulents for colour and the gold for a grown-up touch. And I’m pretty sure I ate party foods from plates just like those as the same age.

I’m quite taken by these. You can tell, I know.

Adoration aside, I too regularly wonder what on earth I should do with some of the pieces I’ve made – especially those I’m not proud of or no longer like. I once had vague delusions of grandeur that I would hold onto them in case of some imaginary future retrospective when I become totally famous. Pft.

As that’s really not going to happen, questions are perpetually on my mind about what to do with all the pieces. I am a minimalist and do like to clear things away regularly; I don’t like to own objects that don’t fit a purpose, with aesthetics being one of the most important purposes of all.

I can’t imagine how this would weigh on a maker’s mind if they had more than I do (I would say I have relatively little), and where gold and more precious materials have been used (most of mine is just silver).

I’m all for makers repurposing their pieces if the result is going to be as stunning as this work or if it opens a new window on another way of viewing their practice. Start with that route; the experimentation alone is valuable experience.

But if that doesn’t quite work out, I would seriously recommend documenting the piece (photographs and sketches and even the story behind it) and then melting away – it makes room for more new work, and releases some funds too. That is in fact a large part of why I’ve documented my RMIT pieces on this blog – once that was done I felt more able to let some of those pieces go and be melted away.

Caz Guiney is at Personal Space Project (Canberra and online) for the month of February 2014. Zoe’s writing about Caz’s work is most definitely worth your reading (more than mine I dare say).