‘It’s got legs’ @ RMIT School of Art Gallery

11 09 2009

The 2009 annual RMIT postgraduate and alumni exhibition, ‘It’s Got Legs‘, officially opened and award winners were announced Wednesday night. Hurry though, it’s only running until next Friday (18th).

The awards were bestowed as follows – congratulations to the artists!

  • Diana Morgan RMIT Postgraduate Gold and Silversmithing First Prize
    Brooch, ‘Remnant‘ by Claire O’Halloran
  • Diana Morgan RMIT Postgraduate Gold and Silversmithing Second Prize
    Ring, ‘The Elephant and the Umbrella‘ by Dougal Haslem
  • The Ronnie Bauer RMIT Postgraduate Gold and Silversmithing Travelling Prize
    Neckpiece, ‘Ice Airfield‘ by Kirsten Haydon

As I expected the opening itself to be pretty busy, I visited at lunchtime to spend more time musing over each piece.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Exhibition text: ‘A survey of leading national artist jeweller/metalsmiths and early career postgraduate research candidates from RMIT School of Art Gold and Silversmithing.

I always look forward to this exhibition for its diversity, quality and the inspiration it provides. This year is no different and in fact is just fabulous!

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

There are lots of pieces here, which is very satisfying as a visitor. There are thirty-six exhibiting artists, seven of whom are completing honours, five alumni, one PhD and the remaining studying Masters.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Beautiful images of the work can be seen on the exhibition website [here]. Note though that Katherine Bowman’s piece in this exhibition is not the one shown on this site, but lovely images of the included neckpieces are on Katherine’s site [here].

There were a number of objects here I particularly liked (I can’t write about all of them!):

  • Michaela Brunton, ‘Vol 0.0‘ [image] – very fine soldering
  • Lucy Hearn, ‘White Vessel Orange‘ [image] – her signature work goes large-scale, quite an enamelling feat
  • Claire O’Halloran, ‘Necklace for The Grande‘ [image] – I’m looking forward to publishing a profile on her shortly (very exciting!)
  • Helen Dilkes, ‘Cone studies 1 … interior/exterior‘ [image] – I absolutely love this one, the colour and rough rolled-out splitting edges; image of installation below
  • Robin Bold, ‘Round Copper‘ and ‘Round Cast Aluminium‘ [image] – refined majestic silversmithing
  • Joanie Lawson, ‘Stratum brooch‘ [image] – in person this is surprisingly delicate and lovely
  • Sim Luttin, ‘Melancholy: Lasting thought‘ [image] – beautifully constructed and lusciously black

There were only a small handful of jarring notes: the coloured line drawings on one plinth felt unnecessarily fussy and detracted somewhat from the uniformity of white plinths; one brooch had some elements I really did like, but it would have been lifted to being wonderful with a finer brooch fitting; and if ever a room needed air conditioning it is this gallery (it is stifling on opening nights, even in winter).

photograph taken with persmission; artist Helen Dilkes

photograph taken with persmission; artist Helen Dilkes

In his speech on the opening night, Professor Robert Baines spoke about the exhibition title (which has been used for this series for three or more years from memory), and offered that it reflects how the experience of studying at RMIT provides emerging jewellers a firm standing and a good foundation for moving out into the international jewelling community – ‘it gives you legs to stand on’ [grammatical sticklers will notice the superfluous apostrophe – please don’t let it bother you and it shouldn’t take away from the work!].

Opening night image: Robert Baines speaking, with dignitaries in the background.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

As an aside, there are some images of the 2008 exhibition on Hannah Ren’s blog [here] – which reminded me that the plinths actually change each year, which is quite a bit of work for the organising group and ought be acknowledged.

This is a magnificent exhibition and collection of emerging and established jewellers. I quietly rode the tram home thinking that while many alumni are still in contact and friends with a number from their own year, perhaps the alumni of RMIT G&S would benefit from more opportunities to get together in broader groups, to draw on each other’s experience, ideas, critique and to create dialogue … something to think more about…

It’s Got Legs 2009‘ is at the RMIT School of Art Gallery until 18th September 2009.



3 responses

14 09 2009
Kevin Murray

Great post. It’s refreshing to read not only someone’s likes but dislikes as well. It helps you calibrate their opinions.

I think the plinths were actually from the RMIT graduate show at Trades Hall last year. Mark Edgoose made them. Good, eh?

14 09 2009

Hi Kevin

I usually find it easier to describe what I like, more than what I dislike; as such, I appreciate your comment and encouragement.

Where I can make a clear critique, as opposed to criticism, I am becoming more courageous to do so. I do admit to holding back out of respect on a few occassions, but more often it’s due to lack of clarity in my potential commentary. I recently had a similar mini-conversation with Marcus from ArtBlart on a previous post.

My feeling is that it takes time to find a voice and an appropriate manner of expression that is my own (and not inherited from others); it comes with practice in both identification and simply connecting the right words.

I believe you’re right about the plinths – I hadn’t connected them to the previous exhibition. Mark does many wonderful things for RMIT G&S, he’s a treasure!

10 11 2009

Beautiful, I especially liked the Dilkes collection. Such incredible artwork and finesse in her jewelry.

%d bloggers like this: