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.
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?“
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 …
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).