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.

Jewellery at auction #3

25 10 2009

Did you know that the Peter MacCullum Cancer Foundation has a Jewellery Collection? I didn’t until I saw an advert for a Sotheby’s auction, with previews happening this weekend in Melbourne. More accurately though, it is a jewellery collection that has been donated to the foundation.

Media states: “A highlight of the jewellery sale is a magnificent collection of jewellery acquired during a forty year period from the 1930’s to 1960’s which has been donated to The Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation. This collection includes some beautiful diamonds and coloured stones from Cartier and Drayson with the proceeds from the sale to be used for cancer research.

The auction will be held in Melbourne this week: 27th and 28th October 2009. The catalogue can be seen here – there are some seriously huge pieces (with estimates in the mid$100k). Aside from the jewellery there are other lovely pieces of decorative art and furniture from ‘The Connoisseur’s Collection’ – aahh, if only I had an enormous trust fund!

Seeking my enamel brooches

23 10 2009

In the inaugural post on my jewellery collection, I mentioned the ‘weird stealing people’ who took away much of my jewellery collection. They not only took the jewellery that had been given to me, but all I had made at the Goldsmith School (which I’ll share more about in the future) and the below brooches I made in my first semester first year.

amended copyright notice: image not to be reproduced without permission

amended copyright notice: image not to be reproduced without permission

I’ve mentioned before how much I loved enamelling, and these were my first cloisonne brooches. I enjoyed the making process so very much. There isn’t a whole lot of conceptualisation behind these; the front-face design came from an exploration of circle geometry; and I liked the idea of the progressive colouring (from memory they’re either 40 or 50mm in diameter).

At the end of assessment for first semester, these brooches were selected by the staff to put on display, alongside other selected enamel pieces from the class. So they were not at my home when I took photographs to document the work from the semester; as such the only image I have of them is the above one briefly taken by a lecturer before they were put on display.

They had been at my home less than a week or two when they were stolen. They were still wrapped in tissue; the thief didn’t even know what they were taking. It made me incredibly sad. It sounds a bit odd, but I almost miss them and wish I had them to wear and feel their weight.

I know they’re probably gone forever – but if you do ever happen to see anyone wearing them, or in a second-hand shop for sale, please please please do what you can to get them back to me!!

Blog roundup

21 10 2009

This week I’ve developed a little crush on paper-cut art:

  • it started with the last story about the past exhibition, which reminded me of Kate Cotching’s work
  • when I searched for her name, I came across another artist, Emma van Leest, who makes reference to Kate in interview here
  • and coincidentally I found another site with paper-art here [I think it was from my traffic somehow?]
  • then I followed the link to the Famille Summerbelle maps – I am in love with these!

This week I also found a couple of essays / stories that have referenced my own writings – I am happy and grateful that both authors have appropriately attributed and referenced me (this is what I like!)

  • Mariano Akerman: a story about Julia de Ville here (in the original Spanish) and here in an English translation
  • Evening Hour (Jen): an essay about the Dali exhibition, here

A few other random interesting readings:

  • Darwinian fun on Inari’s blog [story]
  • I think Inari’s blog also recently led me to Gray Area Symposium’s site [link]
  • and while searching for links to my blog (no, I don’t make a habit of googling my own name for vanity’s sake!) I found there is another Australian jeweller called Karen Thompson [her site here]; I know it’s a fairly common name, but I still have a little identity-wobble when I find someone with my name, especially when they have a similar interest or could feasibly be confused with me… I wish her the best of luck!

Happy reading and happy making.