I have had a crush on David Neale‘s pieces for some time now, so I was excited about seeing his work at Gallery Funaki. He is paired with Emma Price, whose exhibition at RMIT First Site in 2005 was the topic of my very first critical writing assignment. So my expectations were high, and happily this show was certainly a pleasure to visit.
Exhibition text states about David’ work:
“There is a bold sense of the painterly in these works, as Neale’s powdery, textured colours become a dominant focus“;
and about Emma’s:
“Her finely balanced structures are constructed from painstakingly drawn down tubing in gold, brass, silver and copper. The shifting, architectonic forms of her neckpieces seem to dance against the body.”
I am particularly attracted to the colouring in David’s collection – the powdery finish evokes a sense of nostalgia in my mind; some of the pastel colours remind me of my childhood (strangely, of my nana’s and grandma’s kitchen things) and even of school uniforms (the blues against greys, like in the one below).
Because the softer colours are such a connection for me, the little spots of very strong bright colours on a few of the pieces didn’t quite work for me; though for many I know that balance of soft and bold is the attractive part – I like different perspectives like that.
I spent a most enjoyable time reading back through David’s blog to find any related to these lovely objects – this is one of the things I love about blogs, that they can show a path through time:
- 25th August 2010: showing the gem dust he has used in some of the colouring
- 6th August 2010: a sneak peek at the exhibition; with some lovely detailed images of the work
- 2nd August 2010: more information about the work in the Funaki exhibition – David points out that some of the paint is actually crushed marble or turquoise and lapis lazuli – amazingly beautiful idea!
- though there isn’t anything specific on the blog, David took pieces from this group to Metalab for ‘Some and None‘ solo-exhibition [link] (3rd June – 1st July); their blog has some great images and an interview [here, here and here]
- 9th April 2010: lots of photographs of pieces in the Metalab / Gallery Funaki / Jam Factory exhibition
- 14th March 2010: photographs of pieces that David actually took to the first exhibition of this group of work, at Jam Factory Adelaide (‘Some and None‘ [link] 10th April – 16th May); I particularly liked these pieces, and I expect as they weren’t in the Funaki exhibition they found new homes in Adelaide
- 7th January 2010: similar pieces for Itami, Japan – I like the second one (in detail)
- 17th June 2009: a story with some pieces that look like ancestors of the current group?
- 17th February 2009: another piece that may be an ancestor too?
- 16th February 2009: a ten-year-old piece that speaks to me of the enduring attraction of this type of work for David
- 1st February 2009: the first post on David’s blog, with a little painting that for me links directly into this group
Further, David’s website has a page with photographs of all the pieces from this group – my little camera just doesn’t give his work enough credit, so please do check them out.
There seems to be a great freedom and joy in the making of these pieces, which is something I admire. Though I wonder if it’s planned or a genuine reflection of David’s work practice – that is, they may be truly spontaneous or skillfully conceived to seem so. It is certainly not at all a criticism, and it really doesn’t matter either way at all, but I seem to like wondering such things and toying with the idea that my interpretation may not be reality at all!
I particularly liked the one in the centre above, among others – but (happily for David) many pieces were sold. As much as I love these little expressions, I worry whether the colours may erode over time with handling (fingerprints are the enemy of many a metal finish!)?
While at the gallery I perused the draws and spotted a little pair of his Aster earrings (see here and here) – so incredibly beautiful, gold sheet worked in the way gold should be worked … in his hands the metal retains its incredible rich colouring, and an ancient-ness, like it could have been found in an archeological dig. I haven’t worn earrings for well over a decade, but if any earrings will bring me back to the earring-wearing-fold, these just may be responsible.
The pairing with Emma Price’s work is surprisingly sympathetic, with the graphic nature of both collections creating a connection. While the solid, soft-edged organic shapes of David’s work are contrasted with Emma’s linear empty forms, for me it really works.
The mixed metals of the fine square-profile tubes gives a life to the constructions, which wouldn’t be as animated if the same metal were used throughout – I like this.
I’m not sure why, but something about them reminded me of the late 1970s or early 80s perhaps, though I cannot put my finger on why … perhaps the graphic nature, square-edged-ness, perhaps the gold/bronze colouring combined with the shapes … did anyone see the same and can help me identify why?
Some neckpieces were on silk, some on linen thread and some on fine chain – the chain linked in with the era evocation more for me than the thread did.
The above piece was my favourite in the group.
It’s a quiet collection, one that rewards playing with the pieces, for they move quite beautifully (I never touch the pieces without permission mind!).
This is a wonderful exhibition. Both David and Emma’s works are fabulous in their own right, but something more is brought out in each of them when they are shown together.
Update: I wrote the above review before seeing Marcus’s review (ArtBlart) here; with some more images of the work. Also, Part B jewellery discussion group, organised by Melissa Cameron, will be meeting at Gallery Funaki this Saturday at 2pm to visit the show and retire somewhere nearby for coffee and discussion.
David Neale and Emma Price are showing at Gallery Funaki until 4th September 2010.
Update (30th August): please do click to see the great comment David has added, especially with respect to the painted surfaces – I should have known better than to be a little worried (especially given I make with paper, which has even more chance of not weathering a wearing well) … with time, and evidence of wearing, a piece does often become more beautiful; which reminds me of one of my favourite posts of David’s, about a gold painted brooch by Robert Smit
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Categories : City_CBD, David_Neale, Emma_Price, Exhibition, Gallery_Funaki, Jewellery
Monday next week, 30th August 2010, Leonard Joel is holding a jewellery auction in Melbourne. A couple of pieces caught my eye:
- a beautiful dark purple enamel locket … not sure about the style really, but the colour is amazing
- an “Aztec-style necklace” … I don’t usually like reproduction / in-the-style-of pieces, but this reminded me of my visit to the Americas museum in Madrid earlier in the year
- an enamel brooch … again, not my style, but somehow quite beautiful
- a boxed set of replicas of world-famous diamonds … I’ve never seen something like this before, and don’t really understand why the estimate is so high for replicas?
- an interesting Middle Eastern gold breast plate
- and naturally there are a number of horribly ostentatious diamond numbers…
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Categories : Auction, Jewellery
A quick post … I popped into Gallery Funaki today to see the latest exhibition of David Neale and Emma Price (which I’ll write about shortly). While I visited, the lovely Katie was fervently reorganising cupboards and mentioned that she has many old catalogues she would like to give away to new homes.
So, if you would like to see some of the catalogues Gallery Funaki has accumulated over the years, and which you may like to make a home at your place, just pop in!
[published with Katie’s permission]
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Categories : City_CBD, Gallery_Funaki
A web-tastic friend has pointed out a video that NMIT have produced to showcase their jewellery courses (though not sure whether it’s new this year, or has been around for a little while).
This is a great video and worth watching by anyone considering studying jewellery at a tertiary institution. The most interesting part for me is their (justified) emphasis on their focus on hand skills; and it also shows their great bench facilities (though having used both NMIT and RMIT studios, I do feel the silversmithing and larger-scale equipment is better at RMIT – personal opinion only!).
The NMIT site also has a static page: NMIT Static Page
A quick search of the other tertiary institution websites turned up:
- two static pages for RMIT: one for the general degree: RMIT General Fine Arts
- and one jewellery-specific RMIT G&S (though in my humble opinion, the entire RMIT needs re-working to look fresher).
- a search of Monash confirms they now seem to be offering a broad-based first year and a more specific second/third year, that includes jewellery: Monash Page
- Box Hill Tafe also has a static page: Box Hill Tafe page
It seems to me that NMIT has the marketing edge on all of them with the excellent information in their video…
Update (29th August): I’ve changed the layout of this post, removing the full pathnames and replacing them with tidier-looking links.
Update (29th August): on a related note, there is a discussion on Kit and Caboodle about places to learn jewellery-making [here]; of particular interest is Simon Cottrell’s viewpoint.
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Categories : Box Hill Tafe, Monash, NMIT, Places_to_Learn, RMIT
Thank goodness Guildford Lane Gallery is open on Sundays, otherwise it would be more likely I’d miss out on some exhibitions … there never seems enough time to visit all shows I want to see (for example, I am very unhappy I missed out on Open Studios at Nicholas Building – damn work!).
Claire McArdle’s show at Guildford Lane Gallery is ‘Token of Place‘ – which she spoke about in the rapid fire papers at the RMIT seminar a few weeks ago. The show was on the ground floor when I visited (above), where it looked a little lost among darker music space (the gallery hosts jazz groups on Fridays I understand), though Claire tells me that it will be moved to the second floor for the next fortnight.
This is an interesting body of work, where each piece is made with collected and crushed rock/dirt and is titled with the location and time the materials were collected. I really responded to the idea of tracing a journey.
Claire writes in her artist statement:
“The pieces could be from a street you walk down every day.
Each piece holds a memory of a place, to be carried with the wearer on their personal journey.
All the pieces are blackened silver with the variation in colour and texture of the rocks presenting a palette of the urban and rural environments the artist traverses.
These collected works are a history of place for the maker. A journey traced in jewellery.
They are a memento of a moment.
A token of a place.”
The pieces are very well presented against (and incredibly discretely and well attached to) boards that look like rendered concrete – a perfect background for the pieces derived from an urban environment.
I particularly liked:
- a little pin with dark green material called ‘Cedar Avenue, 4.14pm‘;
- the resolution to the earring construction on ‘Brunswick Street, 12.42pm‘ is wonderful;
- and the hinged earrings ‘Heatherdale Road, 12.18pm‘ were well-made, unexpectedly and delightfully sparkly.
The above image was one Claire sent to me – I like that it’s placed against the concrete and not in a typical ‘white-space’.
The pieces as a group tell a story and have a shared vision/intent, and as such the show has great cohesion – contributed to no doubt by the palette of found rocks but also due to the choice to only use blackened sterling silver.
I wondered if the design of each was influenced by or referenced the place the materials were found, or something that was in her mind when she found them…
Claire McArdle’s ‘Tokens of Place‘ is at Guildford Lane Gallery until 29th August 2010.
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Categories : City_CBD, Claire_McArdle, Exhibition, GuildfordLaneGallery, Jewellery
After the one week extension, Makers Mark gallery is officially closed.
So … who is going to open the next jewellery / artisan-metalsmithing gallery??
Update (28th August): … but their website remains the same as it was weeks ago… when will it be taken down?
Update (29th August): oh also, I have removed their site from my links page too…
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Categories : City_CBD, Makers_Mark_Gallery