Mari Funaki Award

14 03 2014

I’m so pleased to share with you the news from Gallery Funaki (though I’m sure most of you have already seen it!):

We’re thrilled to announce the inaugural Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery. Mari was a unique and passionate advocate for contemporary jewellery in Australia, both through her own remarkable practice and her establishment and directorship of Gallery Funaki.

This Award aims to celebrate Mari’s legacy by rewarding the skills and vision of jewellers both here and overseas and by providing a platform for outstanding new work to be shown here in Australia. A panel of three judges (to be announced) will award prizes in both established and emerging categories, with total prize money valued at AUD$11,000.

For entry conditions and more information, please email Award Manager Chloë Powell at or download the PDF below [link here].

The Award is generously supported by Vivienne and Leo Donati, Johannes Hartfuss and Fabian Jungbeck.

event media

event media

Important dates:

  • Applications close: 18 June 2014 (11:59pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time)
  • Finalists notified: 25 June 2014
  • Work/s received by: 30 July 2014
  • Award exhibition: 12 August – 13 September 2014

How absolutely wonderful.

‘PROJECT: Jewellery for T-shirts’ @ Gallery Funaki

4 02 2014

With this show Gallery Funaki launches its “series of occasional, week-long shows collectively titled PROJECT:  These short exhibitions explore collaborations, new enquiries and multidisciplinary approaches, and seek connections with artists from outside the jewellery field who engage with the body as a platform for their practice.

This is “PROJECT: Jewellery for T-shirts“, a collaboration between Helen Britton (of my lust-list fame) and Justine McKnight.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

It was quite something to walk into Funaki and see it exhibiting objects so different from previous visits. The garments were beautifully serene, elegant, and sometimes gently animated by the zephyr through the open door. Being in a (familiar) gallery setting put me in the mindset of viewing them as works of art, more than simply clothes.

Exhibition media: “We’re intrigued by the interplay between clothing and jewellery. The physicality of one influences the other as we work with the weight of cloth or metal, the size and shape of elements, the texture of a surface or an edge. Then there’s the content: deconstruction, process, mark, gesture, structure and materiality. Transience. The forms react to one other, not only through the making process, but finally on the body as well: arranging, rearranging, each movement suggesting new possibilities.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

It dawned on me – why don’t we makers do this more often? Make jewellery in response to specific garments? I know it’s done for fashion collections, presented in shows and such. And I imagine of course for high-end ensembles. What about our everyday favourite items? Why shouldn’t your favourite t-shirt have its own custom designed brooch (especially positioned of course) or neckpiece? [Or does everyone do this and no-one told me?!]

I love this idea; and I very much enjoyed the beauty of the outcome. The sympathy and understanding between the two makers is obvious.

The combination at the front of the above image is the most striking. Though it is closely rivaled by the one at the back of this row, with the black marks scattering across the body and a gorgeous brooch worn on the upper left.

I think it’s super that Gallery Funaki have introduced these mini-exhibitions – little forays into perhaps more adventurous arenas, giving the gallery and its visitors some wriggle-room to experiment and play and perhaps even take a risk. I do look forward to the next one.

PROJECT: Jewellery for T-shirts‘ is at Gallery Funaki until this Saturday 8th February.

Henriette Schuster ‘almost invisible’ @ Gallery Funaki

14 08 2013

This was my first time seeing the work of Henriette Schuster, and it was an absolute delight. Her solo show is ‘almost invisible‘ at Gallery Funaki.

Her jewellery collection sits alongside her drawings. The pieces are quiet, simple (in the most perfect way), and subtle.

image courtesy of Gallery Funaki

image courtesy of Gallery Funaki

There are a large number of pieces for a solo exhibition – a handful of earrings, some rings, with many pendants and neckpieces.

The metal components are silver, yellow gold and blackened silver; the colour palette black, white, red and neon yellow.

  • The revelation for me was the hanging material for the pendants: elastic. A great alternative to silk or linen thread, I would expect it would be more capable of handling robust wear and not to mention the clean lines it permits for shorter pieces (which can still be put over the head).
  • There is a group of blackened pendants which I would call figurative or narrative (in the left of the image above) – little brushes, cups and representations of other items.
  • Another group (on the bench above), like silver cylindrical branches, are on the brightest neon yellow elastic thread – gorgeous arrangements of shapes and linear intersections. Another collection is similar though on red thread and with blackened elements.
  • A further group of pendants and rings (in the enclave to the right of the below image) explores the interrelationship between two circles or spheres … some on red or black thread.

And how magnificent does the new gallery fit-out look.

image courtesy Funaki Gallery

image courtesy Funaki Gallery

Exhibition media: “In her first solo exhibition at Gallery Funaki, Munich based artist Henriette Schuster presents a collection of jewellery that uses precious metals in simple, almost naïve ways to explore basic aesthetic relationships between two similar forms. In addition, we will be showing a series of Schuster’s drawings that both draw from and feed into her jewellery practice.

Sometimes the most affecting gestures are very small and very quiet. Schuster creates jewellery and drawings that shy away from bold declarations and instead, wait quietly for close attention. Working with silver and thread, Henriette’s jewellery is arrestingly simple and direct: small elements, often in pairs, sit in delicate balance with one another, a subtle dance of interdependence and connection. Familiar household objects like teacups, thimbles and brushes take on unexpected symbolism and tenderness as they hang, paired and companionate, on boldly coloured elastic. Tubes of silver are bent in simple and graphic forms, creating drawings on the body. And Schuster’s drawings, which will be shown for the first time in Australia, are studies in understatement and lightness. Schuster’s vision is unobtrusive but always quietly compelling.

exhibition image; from website; click on image for original source

exhibition image; from website; click on image for original source

For me the above piece was the most outstanding of the exhibition, it’s called ‘Tear‘ and is yellow gold. So simple and stunning. I am still considering if it needs to come home with me.

Make sure you visit the Gallery Funaki website for more images of the lovely work. Better still, go and see them in person.

almost invisible‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 17th August 2013.

Kiko Gianocca, Marc Monzo ‘on second thoughts’ @ Gallery Funaki

5 10 2012

I have a soft spot for Kiko – he took one of our classes in our third year at RMIT; so I was very much looking forward to this exhibition. Add to that, Katie was one day wearing the most stunning gold earrings by Marc, and I couldn’t wait!

The conversation between the jewellery of Kiko Gianocca and Marc Monzo in ‘on second thoughts‘ is pretty special.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

Kiko’s work includes some rings with (what I would consider his ‘signature’) two-eye holes, molten neckpieces and enameled (I think?) plate brooches with images on the back. These brooches are beautifully constructed and conceived; they feel quiet when on the bench, though I imagine are fairly monumental when worn.

exhibition image; click on image for original source

The pieces I loved the most from Kiko were his silver-plated wooden pendants. Stunning simplicity; the texture is beguiling. I wanted one. I haven’t been able to find any images of them yet, though they are similar to those in his previous exhibition (as shown by ArtBlart here).

Exhibition media: “The jewellery of Kiko Gianocca (Switzerland) and Marc Monzó (Spain) is born of a need to make sense of the temporality, connectedness and the personal. Each uses a visual and material language entirely his own, yet both share a directness and minimalism that cut straight to the core of what it means to wear jewellery and imbue it with meaning.

This was the first time I’ve seen Marc’s work. I have no real explanation for it, though I felt there were two kinds of his work – restrained linear pieces and those referencing the ‘ring’ (like these). I was especially attracted to his little brooches, like those in the image below.

not from the exhibition; click on image for original source

There is so much to see in this exhibition, and to be truthful I’m not sure I’ve come to terms with it all yet!

What I do like about this exhibition is that much of it is the ‘quiet’ kind of contemporary jewellery … wonderful.

on second thoughts‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 20th October 2012.


Update (7th October): Gallery Funaki’s facebook page has a beautiful photograph of Kiko’s rings

from Gallery Funaki facebook; click on image for original source


Warwick Freeman ‘making dust’ @ Gallery Funaki

26 05 2012

Finally, I’ve made it to a jewellery exhibition in Melbourne! Hoorah! Sadly though, it was on this exhibition’s last day – but at least I made it to Warwick Freeman’s ‘making dust‘ at Gallery Funaki.

The key piece ‘dust‘ is a pretty amazing collection of panels on which Warwick has adhered dust that he has meticulously collected from his studio (an example is below). I understand that he was incredibly careful to collect the dust from each material he works with and displays them here on cards (with a non-coloured binder) … the collection gives the viewer what is essentially a condensed view of his colour palette.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

A few of the pieces reminded me of birds and faces (below) and noses … and triggered, as expected, my resistance to figurative works. That’s okay, it’s just the way I am; I don’t dislike them, I simply cannot find I can connect with them.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

I did respond to two rings of large pieces of lapiz lazuli … displayed as though the stone was a plinth. I liked the gentle humour in this.

There is quite a range of materials and symbols / iconography …

Exhibiton media: “Warwick Freeman’s latest exhibition explores form, material and the quiet profundity of the everyday object. The rear wall of the gallery features Freeman’s new installation, ‘Dust’, a kind of documentary record featuring the residual dust of sixty materials that the artist has used in his jewellery making, mounted on boards and offering a graphic palette of Freeman’s practice. His jewellery pieces; carved, found or both, are imbued with the directness, honesty and talismanic power that are the hallmarks of his artistic vision.

While I very much enjoyed his last show at Gallery Funaki, ‘spring collection‘ (I can hardly believe it was almost three years ago!), I had more trouble putting the various components of this show ‘together’ in my mind. I expect this is more to do with my fragmented attention than anything else.

Warwick Freeman’s ‘making dust‘ was at Gallery Funaki from May 1st to 26th 2012.

Carlier Makigawa ‘nature and structure’ @ Gallery Funaki

5 04 2012

Seriously, what has happened to time lately? I cannot believe I almost missed this exhibition. Thank goodness I joined the ‘young generation’ on the Facebook, and follow Gallery Funaki, or I shall have completely forgotten it closed today.

Carlier Makigawa‘s latest exhibition at Gallery Funaki is ‘nature and structure‘.

Exhibition media: “Fragile structures project and expand in unplanned growth. Lines – define volumes and transparencies to explore movement, form – an illusive, simultaneous grasp of life, exploring boundaries of formal definition of the relationship and tension between like and unlike.

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

I absolutely loved Carlier’s previous exhibition at Gallery Funaki, ‘October 2009‘; especially the moving sculptures.

The current exhibition seems to explore and further develop some of the new trajectories that began there. Particularly, the straight linear forms; and coral has graduated from the occasional inclusion to being integral to each piece here (with the exception of the bracelets).

exhibition media; with gallery permission; please click on image for original source

It was wonderful to see earrings take part in a formal exhibition – in my recollection, this is not that common, though I hope it is a trend we start to see a lot more of.

There were also brooches and bracelets – the latter introducing a new graduated silver / oxidised finish that is quite becoming of the pieces.

After my first sweep through, I initially thought there was a strict relationship of the coral colouring to the metal finish used (especially I thought that the darker red coral was always paired with blackened silver). But on second sweep realised that was wrong. And I like that kind of experience … a second, third, fourth, and subsequent look always uncovers something new.

exhibition media; with gallery permission; please click on the image for the original source

The coral was set into some, perhaps many?, of the pieces in such a manner as to allow a little movement of the coral (eg. the orange coral and yellow gold piece in the second image) … it’d be so interesting to see how they would move on the body. I was feeling particularly clumsy the day I visited, so thought handling them would be unwise – last thing I’d want to do is drop a piece, with coral in it, for heaven’s sake!

Though still on that thought … I was a little torn between feeling the coral was free to inhabit the structures made for them, or if they were trapped. In the exhibition writing below, it mentions a tender hold – though I wonder if the tender hold is sometimes the most difficult to bear or break? Is that a bit deep for this time of day…

Exhibition media: “In Carlier Makigawa’s work, it’s often as much what is unsaid, or unframed, that speaks clearest. Areas of absence become vivid: they move in symbiosis with the carefully constructed cages that surround them. Pale, white silver hints at the ephemeral – at something that might easily slip away – while dense, blackened silver seems determined to draw a line against impermanence. Pieces of coral are caught and held almost tenderly, their bright splashes of colour a counterpoint to and reinforcement of the negative spaces around them. ‘Nature and structure’ is an exhibition by one of Australia’s most accomplished artists working at the height of her powers.

And, as always, it was wonderful to spend time chatting with Katie Scott about the work.

Carlier Makigawa ‘nature and structure‘ was at Gallery Funaki from 13th March to 5th April 2012.

ps. Carlier’s work is also well described in a story on Sim Luttin’s blog here.