NMIT graduates ’33 Carat’ @ Red Gallery

10 11 2013

In what may be a first, I’ve managed to actually visit an exhibition in its first few days. I know; it is excellent.

In a break from recent years, the NMIT Jewellery Graduate (Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology) exhibition, ‘33 Carat‘, is being shown at Red Gallery.

It’s a lovely bright space; I like this better than the previous venue for its light and the partitions/walls make the experience less daunting or visually overwhelming.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

First impressions include:

  • more variety of materials
  • less high-polish (that’s a good thing in my personal opinion)
  • more lyrical pieces
  • not as much enamel this year
  • … and of course the high quality construction is still a constant of NMIT graduates.
  • and most especially gorgeous, a few examples of opals as a gem of choice. Perhaps this has had something to do with last year’s Part B exhibition ‘Oh Opal!‘ and Kim Victoria’s recent collections.
photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Participating makers are (alphabetical by surname):

  • Sally Balfour, Zoe Beman, Jeremy Bryant
  • Samantha Carr, Linda Clark, Tom Corbett
  • Adrian Dyson
  • Sarah Gibson, Anna Maidment Gray
  • Arlia Hassell, Imogen Hobbs, Verity J Hollingworth, Sian E. Horrocks
  • Yu Ishito [site]
  • Takako Kajiya [site], Michael W Kilner, Jana King
  • Willem Asher Payten, Kim Bach Pham [blog]
  • Claire Renehan, Meegan Roberts, Marie Rose
  • Beth Sayer, Gabrielle Sharp, Carmel Sheehy, Lizzie Slattery
  • Dale Williams
  • Sally Zurbo
photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Collections I most connected with include:

  • Jeremy Bryant’s bold opal pieces
  • Sarah Gibson’s geometric pieces, some with synthetic opals used to amazing effect
  • Sally Zurbo’s earrings using choum iybsa, the shapes are lovely
  • Yu Ishito’s whimsical enamel pieces are beautifully displayed
  • Adrian Dyson’s amazing objects

Photos of some of these works are below … click on the ‘read more’.

33 Carat‘ is at Red Gallery until 23rd November 2013.

2012 ‘Kaleidoscope‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2011 ‘Auteur‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2010 ‘Forge‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2009 ‘Mint‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

Update (11th November): I thought it may be interesting to republish the comment I wrote on this post today (for the super-lazy, who don’t want to click the ‘comments’ link .. you know, I like being helpful!):

“To add to my post, this year I felt something that I’ve had trouble putting into words; but I’ll try here (comments are more forgiving I think).

I think there was a genuine sense of individuality and personality and personal expression … in that it felt like I could feel something of the maker in the works, that I could sense a little of who they are … not that it’s not been there in previous years, but it seemed very evident to me this year. This is a wonderful thing, walking away feeling like you’ve ‘met’ the makers to a degree … I’m not sure if any of that makes sense … see what I mean about finding it difficult to put into words.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Golden Ink ‘Tapestry of Parts’ @ Edition X

21 11 2011

The beautiful ladies behind Golden Ink Collaborative, Katherine Wheeler (see my artist profile) and Abby Seymour, have a new exhibition ‘Tapestry of Parts‘ in the window of Edition X (the previous location of Pieces of Eight, in North Fitzroy).

I popped along to visit on a late afternoon over the weekend … the lighting didn’t make for very clear images unfortunately. But I hope they give an idea of the gorgeousness!

installation image

installation image

installation image

I have loved their beautiful work from way back … see my review of one of their previous exhibition ‘Hidden Facets‘ and my collection pieces (Katherine’s and GoldenInk).

Take a wander past!

Correction & Apology: Edition X

14 11 2011


I have made a terrible mistake in my previous post

My understanding about artists committing on the basis of a city location was incorrect, and therefore misleading and disrespectful to the gallery.

My sincere apologies to Edition X and Pieces of Eight, and especially Melanie who has been very supportive of my blog.

I have corrected my original post; and take it as a lesson to ensure I do not misinterpret such important things in the future.

Sincere apologies again.
Make sure you tell all your friends that I was wrong and give them the right story.

Pieces of Eight: Edition X

7 11 2011

A caveat up front: I have no financial connection to Pieces of Eight (other than buying pieces from them!) and this isn’t an advertisement …. but I think it’s a fantastic initiative that should be mentioned here (of all places!).

Pieces of Eight Gallery have launched an online retail space: Edition X.

media image

Launch media (from here):
Edition X is unique, bringing you completely exclusive commissioned works from a variety of artists and makers from around the globe with all collections made in very limited set editions.

With a showroom in North Fitzroy, the former home of Pieces of Eight Gallery, and an online store open 24/7, we’re always ready to share our evolving collections with you. The best thing about Edition X is our focus on presenting the ‘affordable collectable’. It’s the place to scope out very special pieces that simply aren’t available anywhere else, all without breaking the bank!

I mentioned this in my previous ‘Melbourne jewellers and galleries’ series of posts recently. In the above text you’ll notice the ‘exclusivity’ mention, which I do understand to be in relation to the “affordable collectable” limited-edition collections – that is, artists are still free to stock other collections elsewhere.

The site is good – I especially like the artist page. The graphic design is very strong too.

The former gallery space in North Fitzroy is the physical accompaniment to the online store – a good idea to have an in-person place to go.

It’s my understanding is that the physical space was actually originally planned to be near the formal Pieces of Eight Gallery in Russell Place in the city. Further, I understand that artists made their initial decision to commit to the project on this basis … so the change of location would likely have been quite disappointing for those hoping their work would have inner-city walk-by exposure and the strength of the main gallery presence too (which the St Georges Rd location certainly doesn’t have).
(14th November): this is incorrect; please refer to my correction and apology post.

I think it’s absolutely fabulous that there is a gallery willing to explore this new retail reality … more people are expecting to shop online than ever before, and that’s unlikely to change.  Without disrespect to any other of our gorgeous Melbourne jewellery galleries, it is of no surprise to me that Pieces of Eight would be the first to engage in this way … their approach to their blog and innovative exhibition design (with accompanying artworks – sound, film and installation) has demonstrated a committment to exploring the possibilities.

A couple of bloggers have written already about their work for Edition X:

I hope it goes well!
I wonder whether other galleries will look to make a similar move??

Justine Austen ‘Monster Zoo’ @ Pieces of Eight

26 10 2009

Monster Zoo‘ by Justine Austen is the latest exhibition at Pieces of Eight. I had seen images of this work on Kit and Caboodle before, but when I visited the gallery I was surprised by the large number of them.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I had a bit of trouble photographing the work in the cabinet above.

The other surprising element were the black cutout bodies accompanying the pieces – they brought them more to life. However they seemed very familiar to me, very much like the shapes of the animals from ‘Where the Wild Things Are‘, but a bit more creepy in an inexplicable way. My gallery-visiting-friend said they reminded her of the toys you got in your cereal packages when we were children…

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Thirty of the pieces are also photographed on Justine’s KickArts profile; they all have names and the exhibition is accompanied by text about what each of the monsters does. The three below differ in that they are much larger than the others and have a coloured (not silver) bodies.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

After visiting the exhibition I read more about the work, including the interview on the Pieces of Eight blog, and note the artist reference the Wunderkammer. I can see the collection aspect here; as well as this idea being reflected in the diversity of materials used, other than the silver capsule-shaped ‘body’. However for me the uniformity of the heads (in that they only differ in the length between the half-spherical tops and bottoms) creates something of a familiarity as you move from one to the next, and in a way almost reduces the uniqueness of each and dilutes the Wunderkammer feel a little. I think of a Wunderkammer as a very eclectic grouping of strange things … so perhaps the way to think of this as a display of ‘monsters’ from a related genus and a subset of the collectors wider collection.

Following the fascinating discussion and commentary generated by a recent story on gems in contemporary jewellery, I found it pretty funny that the very next exhibition I visited was so gem-heavy!

The Pieces of Eight blog has other great images of the work and of the opening night. It was a bit of fun visiting this exhibition.

Monster Zoo‘ is at Pieces of Eight until 14th November 2009.

Djurdjica Kesic ‘Nomad’ @ Pieces of Eight

2 10 2009

I prefer not to read too much about an exhibition before I visit it – it helps keep my initial reaction and connection independent of others’ ideas, including the artist’s. However, it is always important to me to know more about the intention of the work after I’ve spent some time looking at it myself. In this way, I essentially have two different experiences of a body of art.

Djurdjica Kesic‘s current exhibition ‘Nomad‘ is at Pieces of Eight. Exhibition media states that the artist: “delves into her ongoing interest in ideas about home, place and transportability of home in migration” and explores “these ideas through a series of necklaces made from an armful of preloved belongings.”

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

On first viewing, I must admit that I didn’t really connect with the thirteen necklaces on display. The colouring felt heavy and there is lots of wood and string, and I just wasn’t feeling it. That was my ‘first experience’ of the work.

My ‘second experience’ followed a conversation with Melanie, who told me more about the underlying intent of the collection. All pieces are made from the items clutched in the arms of the artist in the media image.

exhibition media; from Pieces of Eight blog

exhibition media; from Pieces of Eight blog

Especially touching was the braided white cotton necklace, which on first view I didn’t find too interesting; that view changed quite dramatically when it was explained to me that the threads were carefully pulled from a pillowcase that was Djurdjica’s grandmother’s and many hours were spent reworking it into the necklace. Devotion to the creation of art is especially attractive to me.

The artist is a migrant to Australia and I had first thought all of the pieces were brought by Djurdjica to Australia. This had cast a beautiful nostalgia and almost mournful light on the wooden components. Unfortunately this was my misunderstanding, as Djurdjica explains in the interview on the Pieces of Eight blog (which I read later), that only the pillowcase is hers and that the other pieces are pre-loved items collected especially for this body of necklaces.

Realising my misunderstanding was actually a little bit of a disappointment, but that’s more about what I had invested into the work that didn’t really belong there. However the idea of the transportation of treasured belongings to a new home is still resonating with me (I’ve experienced culling material possessions and selecting only the special items before moving to a new country).

All of the pieces are necklaces, and I’m curious about the choice of that vehicle in particular and why other jewellery forms were not used…

Djurdjica’s production work for Pieces of Eight [here] is different to the exhibition body; delicate and small gold and oxidised silver rings, some set with little gems … I liked them so much I tried some on, but they were a little dainty for my fingers. The pieces she contributed to the ‘My Pet Rock‘ exhibition at the gallery last year were rings set with pebbles; the diversity of materials in her practice is interesting.

Djurdjica Kesic’s ‘Nomad‘ is at Pieces of Eight until 10th October 2009. The artist will be at the gallery for a floor talk on Saturday 3rd October at 4pm.

Tessa Blazey ‘Fabrication’ @ Pieces of Eight

2 09 2009

The latest exhibition in the window of Pieces of Eight is ‘Fabrication‘ by Tessa Blazey.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

The display is like a little world of its own, with small men adrift in a landscape of enormous crystalline structures.

Most of the rings are square and either black or gold. The necklace elements are triangular or circular. There is a clear geometric theme!

The rings below have a focal point that looks to have been cast from mineral samples, some of which are exhibited alongside. It’s an interesting concept actually, and I particularly like the gold tourmaline crystal ring (pictured in the very bottom left corner in the image above).

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Exhibition media states:
In ‘Fabrication’ Tessa Blazey creates intimate sci-fi worlds and geometric wearables through a series of new jewellery pieces for Pieces of Eight Gallery. Exhibited are two collections exploring her concepts of fabrication; the invention of a story or fiction and the process of manufacturing.
The collections are highly sculptural and unified by their common conceptual origins- Blazey’s fascination with mineral specimens, their formal geometries and structures. There is a striking contradiction of scale in the work which is both clever and playful. The ring series uses the process of casting, transforming complex and beautiful mineral specimens into miniature architectural worlds. In contrast to this, her series of bold chains manipulate crystalline structures and geometric forms to monumentalise the language of chain-making

Tessa’s blog has some lovely images of her work; and the Pieces of Eight blog has fantastic photographs of the opening night [post] and a very interesting interview with the artist [post].

Tessa Blazey’s ‘Fabrication‘ is at Pieces of Eight until 12th September 2009.

Update (31st January 2010): Craft Vic blog has a story and some more images of Tessa’s work here.