Kirsten Haydon ‘Ice storeroom’ @ Craft

25 07 2014

Kirsten was one of my two enameling teachers at RMIT. And for that I will be forever grateful – I love the practice, though of course haven’t done any for many years now. Not like Kirsten – she continues to explore the technique and her connection with the Antarctic in Ice storeroom‘ at Craft.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The installation is wonderful. I like how it transports you to another space – moving through the structure it encloses you and it genuinely feels like you’re quite separate from the gallery. It evokes a sparsely built storeroom.

The brooches are mostly circular (though with differing diameters), and seem to me to refer to ice cores.

Exhibition media: “The ice has a remarkable quality of preserving and storing knowledge within its structure. Inclusions, both micro and macro, in the ice can provide detail about the moment the ice was formed. This knowledge could be accessed from analysing the trapped gases or dust particles or by connecting with the narrative of an enclosed man-made object.
In this installation Ice storeroom builds on Haydon’s previous work with Antarctica and explores the notion that Antarctica is a repository for environmental and cultural knowledge.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

There is more colour in this show than in her previous; with the additional hues within a limited palette of greys and blues and rusts, with a shot of dark grey / black in the bracelet in the foreground above.

Once again I like the neckpieces made of tube-components; and I loved the little objects and the neckpiece ‘ice monitor‘.

I initially thought that many of the pieces could be considered to be quite similar to previous collections (certainly not meant as a criticism but more an observation). However then I realised that newer pieces in this exhibition are accompanied with a smattering of older pieces (from 2006 and since), which may explain my sense of familiarity. I may also be experiencing ignorance or failing memory – I’m absolutely sure that were all the work to be in one room a progression would be completely obvious; and can you imagine how gorgeous that room would be!

That said, some of the neckpieces here show incredibly interesting development of form and construction (as in the ‘Lure of Radium‘ below).

I’d also like to know more about the installation on the back wall; for it is unique in the exhibition in including porcelain in the materials – though I couldn’t quite tell where…

media image; click on image for original source

media image in SMH article; click on image for original source

This exhibition has also been reviewed and written about by:

  • SMH: with a beautiful photograph and well-researched and thoughtful commentary
  • HandMadeLife: with many stunning photographs (including one of ‘ice monitor‘; my favourite statement “Every time we’ve seen her work there has been a level of finesse that makes the ideas feel as complete as the actual work. That accuracy of thinking and of execution is evident in every object, every surface, every well-considered corner of this installation.”
  • BlouIn ArtInfo

And make sure you check out the Craft interview with Kirsten here.

Kirsten Haydon ‘Ice storeroom‘ is at Craft until 26th July 2014.
[Sorry sorry - it closes tomorrow - I've had some trouble getting to this one.]

See also: 10th June 2011 Kirsten Haydon ‘ice structure‘ @ Gallery Funkai





Karl Fritsch ‘yodel’ @ Gallery Funaki

11 07 2014

What’s not to love about Karl Fritsch I ask you?

Karl’s latest exhibition, yodel‘ at Gallery Funaki, delivers what you’d expect, and hope for, from this modern master – subversiveness, cheekiness, playfulness, unusual handling of materials, challenge, uncertainty, remarkable individuality, smirks, and absolute delight.

beautiful image courtesy of Gallery Funaki; image copyright belongs to the gallery

beautiful image courtesy of Gallery Funaki; image copyright belongs to the gallery

Exhibition media: “His rings, both precious and anti-precious, beautiful and proudly anti-beautiful, bear the weight and scars of centuries of embedded cultural belief about jewellery’s manifestation of status. Using precious materials as well as rough hewn aluminium, stones and glass, Fritsch’s work has the look of something buried for a thousand years while remaining utterly contemporary.
Selected works are also shown from a recent collaboration between Fritsch and Auckland based photographer Gavin Hipkins

exhibition media; courtesy of Gallery Funaki and the copyright remains with the gallery

exhibition media; with thanks to and courtesy of Gallery Funaki; copyright remains with the gallery

There are some truly monumental pieces in this exhibition, including those in the exhibition image (above). These are made of aluminium and set with brightly coloured stones. I admit to being both amused and uncomfortable with them.

They’re cheerful and hilarious in their chunkiness, scale and gaudy colour combinations … and in reflecting on them I realised that for some reason I do prefer my jewellery to be serious [which is entirely my burden to bear and not the responsibility of any artist to relieve me of it!]. I wondered if I may have found them more satisfying if the finish were more textured and bashed-about and a smidge less shiny-shiny [again, totally my perception]? I’d like to think more about these…

Ring #351, 2011; image with thanks to and courtesy of Gallery Funaki; copyright remains with the gallery

There were some rings that I genuinely fell in love with, much to my delight. Most especially a yellow gold ring set with orange garnets (above). The gold rectangular strip, perhaps 10mm by 2mm (or so), has been simply curved into a ring with a satisfying overlap; with five little pillows set with varying colours of tiny garnets. Completely delightful in my view. I tried it on, though sadly my skin tone doesn’t do it justice – it needs someone with more olive or tanned skin than I to bring it to life. Sigh.

The others that particularly appealed to me where the yellow gold ones, set with little stones. I suspect I’m in a matt gold kind of phase… how ridiculously gorgeous is the one in the image below?!

with thanks to and courtesy of Gallery Funaki; copyright remains with the gallery

with thanks to and courtesy of Gallery Funaki; copyright remains with the gallery

There is so much to look at and think about: 67 rings (with creations years varying from 2014 back to 2004), 2 bracelets, and 7 collaborative images and objects.

with thanks to and courtesy of Gallery Funaki; copyright remains with the gallery

with thanks to and courtesy of Gallery Funaki; copyright remains with the gallery; ‘Der Tiefenglanz (Cosmos)’, 2014, silver gelatin print, aluminium, cubic zirconia

The photographic collaborations with Gavin Hipkins are moody and interesting; though I did find myself somewhat distracted by the glory of Karl’s rings. The above is particularly amazing – the scale in the image is misleading, as I originally thought it may be about postcard size, but in fact it’s about A4 and so the scratches are forceful and have great presence.

It’s a surprise to me that my understanding of Karl’s work continues to deepen, and I’m glad for it. Go forth and see what you see too.

Karl Fritsch’s ‘yodel‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 9th August 2014.

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Other posts about Karl Fritsch:

20th December 2010: Returning to the jewel is a return from exile’ @ Tarrawarra Museum of Art

9th June 2010: Karl Fritsch ‘freeling‘ @ Gallery Funaki

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Update (12th July): after a little more thought, I wondered about the title of the exhibition … why ‘yodel‘?

A little bit of research later … consider these descriptions of yodeling: “repeated changes of pitch during a single note” or “oscillates on neighbor tones” or “an ornament or trill in phrases which have long syllables” and “the basic yodel requires sudden alterations of vocal register from a low-pitched chest voice to high falsetto tones” and of course its use as a means of village-to-village communication.

While I cannot speak for why the title was chosen, I do like very much the connections these little snippets create in my mind.

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Natalia Milosz-Piekarska ‘Immortal Morsels’ @ Pieces of Eight

26 05 2014

Natalia continues her exploration of the contemporary representation of ancient amulets in Immortal Morsels‘ at Pieces of Eight.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Exhibition media: “Throughout time and across cultures, folk have made use of an endless repository of enigmatic edibles, administering and worshiping them with the belief that they may house magical and medicinal properties. They have been used to heal, protect and alter our physical and mental states.
Whether flora or fauna, garnered from land or sea, some ingredients take on such divine eminence that the question could be asked, are they food of the gods, or are they gods in themselves?

The white paper landscape is evocative and whimsical … almost like a children’s book illustration. I initially wondered whether colour may have been more vibrant; though of course that would surely have overwhelmed the smaller delicate jewellery pieces.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

The vitrine shows the smaller jewellery, and the window housed the large-scale and very colourful neckpieces.

Natalia has also decorated the high front windows – they look like marine flora!

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Also see the Pieces of Eight blog with photographs of the opening night.
And read an interview with Natalia on Craft blog.
Make sure you visit Natalia’s website and tumblr.

Natalia Milosz-Piekarska ‘Immortal Morsels‘ is at Pieces of Eight until 21st June 2014.

17th September 2010: Karla Way and Natalia Milosz-Piekarska ‘Bad Beasts Do Not Harm Me‘ @ Craft Victoria

Mentions in other posts





Helen Britton ‘pairs of pieces’ @ Gallery Funaki

24 05 2014

Regular readers will know of my exceptionally strong admiration of Helen Britton‘s jewellery (she’s on my lust-list and I’ve been smitten for a while now).

Well, I was beside myself* while viewing her latest exhibition: pairs of pieces‘ at Gallery Funaki.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

The exhibition media is eloquent and enlightening, and worth repeating in full:

“When I’m making my work, although I rarely have a clear idea of the end result, I am in pursuit of a fleeting vision that I chase along until the pieces start to materialize on my worktable. Over so many years of making I have observed that this often results in pairs of pieces. There they are then, in the end, these two friendly companions, singing together, vibrating at the right intensity, complementing each other, yet quite autonomous.

What happened along the way? Was there just too much to say to fit into one work? The vision is often dense and chaotic, so perhaps it is a kind of spreading and organizing within the creative process that produces the two possibilities. And this is jewellery after all, so there needs to be space for the wearer.

It not only like this though. At other times, works are being made or coming back to the studio. I lay them out to revisit them, learn more about them, and during this process I recognize quite clearly relationships between pairs, that may in fact be separated by months or even years. For this exhibition I have made and gathered works that examine this experience.”

Helen Britton, 2014

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Once again the monochrome rings called out to me. They’re absolutely stunning.

If the one on the left in the image below hadn’t already been sold I expect I’d be fretting over whether to purchase it or not … completely amazing.

courtesy of the gallery; click on image for original source

courtesy of the gallery; click on image for original source

The neckpieces are beautiful too – which even surprised me, as I don’t usually respond to too much colouring in jewellery. There was a brooch with the most enchanting lavender / pale rose kind of colour that I couldn’t take my eyes from.

And then there was this ring .. swoon.

courtesy of the gallery; click on image for original source

courtesy of the gallery; click on image for original source

I also really liked the exhibition design: the uneven and rough-edged constructions are ideal stages for the jewellery.

Make sure you look at all of the images on the Gallery Funaki site – too beautiful. In fact, go and see it in person if you can.

Helen Britton ‘pairs of pieces‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 14th June 2014.

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* I may have squealed a little when I spotted the rings.
I’m also pretty sure I did a little skippy-dance as I made my way towards them.

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‘StArt Up: Top Arts’ @ NGV

18 05 2014

I quite like visiting the Top Arts at NGV each year … this year it’s titled ‘StArt Up‘.

installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

Exhibition media: “In 2014 the highly popular Top Arts celebrates its twentieth year at the NGV. The exhibition presents outstanding work by students who have completed Art or Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and provides insight into young people’s ideas, thinking and creative practices.

This year I noticed that there wasn’t much painting, little 3D work, no ceramics, no metal work, only one textile work, and there seemed to be quite a lot of photography ‘ink jet’ works. Though I was happy that there was so much drawing and that quieter works were included.

Selected students are:

  • Beth Audley , Liam Barr , Kiri-Una Brito Meumann , Kelly Bull
  • Tia Clothier , Amy Collins , Natalie De Blasis , Adrian Del-Re , Eleni Diamantis
  • Adelle Elksnis , Kate Ferrari
  • Christiana Garvie , Will Goldsbrough-Reardon , Jordan Hall , Emily Hubbard
  • Jessica Inci , Elly Jackson
  • Isabella Kelly , Bonnie Koopmans , Claire Kopietz , Rachael Lever
  • Nick Mahady , Camille Mance , Madeleine McDonough , Georgia Mein , Osgar Teague Murphy
  • Tommaso Nervegna-Reed , Jessica Nguyen , Hieu Nguyen
  • Jake O’Donnell , Aaron Orellana , Kelly Peck , Stephanie Pidcock
  • Taylah Ransome , Sarah Robinson
  • Tess Saunders , Suzy Saylak , Danielle Schmidt , Monica Sestito , Qia Sun , Yukako Sunaba
  • Nicole Thomson , Gemma Topliss , Paris Triantis
  • June Uili , Darcy Whitworth , Mollie Wilkins , Angus Wishart
installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

Most appealing to me were:

  • the hair studies in pencil by Nicole Thomson
  • the video work by Claire Kopletz (I rarely enjoy video art but this was astounding, incredibly beautiful and touching; I was entranced)
  • and the can pyramid by Tess Saunders is clever and knowingly referential.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014‘ is at National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Ian Potter Centre until 20th July 2014.

Top Arts VCE 2010  @ NGV

Top Arts VCE 2008 @ NGV

I must have missed the other years; and I think the naming has changed – it used to refer to the previous year, so this year’s should be 2013 I think (instead of its official title including 2014)?





‘Fresh!’ @ Craft

17 05 2014

Fresh!‘ : the annual Craft showcase of selected graduate works returns.

This is the 2013 cohort, with the exhibition no longer at the end of the year but a few months later (no doubt to give the curator and students more time).

exhibition ; photograph with permission

exhibition ; photograph with permission

It was a delight to visit.

There is an assuredness in many of these pieces that bodes exceptionally well for their future as makers.

Kate Jones ; photograph with permission

Kate Jones ; photograph with permission

Exhibiting artists are:

  • Ruby Aitchison – gold & silversmithing
  • John Brooks – drawing
  • Grace Crawshaw-McLean [blog] – beautifully delicate and ephemeral weaving (so subtle I almost missed them)
  • Saskia Doherty [website]
  • Annie Gobel [website] – gold & silversmithing; bold neckpieces
  • Marcos Guzman [Kit & Caboodle profile] – gold & silversmithing (photograph below)
  • Kate Jones [tumblr] – ceramics; stunning large-scale objects (photograph above); my favourite group of the whole show
  • Tracey Lamb – visual art
  • Alexander Maklary [website] – ceramics
  • Louise Meuwissen [blog] – painting
  • Elise Sheehan [tumblr] – gold & silversmithing; close-running second favourite (photograph below)
  • Kate Wischusen [website] – gold & silversmithing; I’ve loved Kate’s work before, especially her ‘Montparnasse‘ enamel brooches
Elise Sheehan; photograph taken with permission

Elise Sheehan; photograph taken with permission

Marcos Guzman; photograph taken with permission

Marcos Guzman Ruby Aitchison; photograph taken with permission

Fresh!‘ is at Craft until 1st June 2014.

‘Fresh! 2012′ : oh, I must have missed this exhibition

Fresh! 2011

Fresh! 2010‘ :

Fresh! 2009‘ :

Updated (18th May): the ladies at HML love this exhibition too, and I especially want to quote their statement that “Fresh remains and important exhibition that acts as both celebration and forecast” (hallelujah!).