Vikki Kassioras & Katherine Bowman ‘Black’ @ Nicholas Building

6 09 2010

Last Thursday night saw the opening of ‘Black‘: a joint exhibition of jewellery by Vikki Kassioras and paintings by Katherine Bowman. Regular blog readers will know very well my admiration for Katherine’s jewellery; and also that I very much liked Vikki’s work at Craft Vic earlier this year.

opening night; photograph taken with artists' permission

Exhibition media:
“Black: An Exhibition
showcases contemporary jewellery by Vikki Kassioras and drawings by Katherine Bowman, as they explore the decorative possibilities of the colour black – an iconic aspect of fashion. Vikki Kassioras explores Black through her use of materials, surface patination such as oxidisation and with gems such as onyx and obsidian. Katherine Bowman’s explorations are realised through the mediums of drawing and painting. Intricate patterns and decorative details are created in pencil, ink, watercolour and collage.

The artists had created a space-within-a-space in Vikki’s showroom/studio in the Nicholas Building, and the hard work and time it would have taken is certainly worth it, as the special space means your concentration can focus entirely on the work.

The above and below images were taken on opening night – it was a little dark and my camera hasn’t been coping very well lately with low light (oh I know, I really should read more about how to drive it better!).

opening night; photograph taken with artists' permission

Opening night was such fun! Lovely champagne served in gorgeous glasses; the artists were friendly and chatty and so happy to discuss their work; and my black-loving friend even had the great honour of having Vikki drape a long opera-length neckpiece (left in the above photograph) on her upon request of another visitor to see one of the pieces on the body. It looked just amazing.

installation; photograph taken with artist permission (with flash)

I went back on the Saturday to see the work again. I took a few more photographs, but as they were with flash, the blackened metal strangely looks silver?! Vikki has some wonderful images of the exhibition, and her pieces, on her blog here.

As you would expect given the exhibition title, almost all of the materials Vikki has used are black … oxidised sterling silver, onyx beads, hematite, vintage glass beads, with some little dark green tourmaline being the only non-black incorporated (and it provided a gorgeous sparkle). In the photograph above is: (left) ‘lion and antelope‘ has a piece of beautifully hand-carved obsidian; (centre) ‘peace‘ with onyx beads; (right) ‘black earth‘.

installation; photograph taken with artist permission

With fewer people in the space (as on opening night), it was easier to see Katherine’s paintings on my second visit. They certainly warrant careful observation, for there is so much detail. I overheard (on opening night) someone asking Katherine whether the fine lines in one piece (centre above) were done with pen, but in fact they’re done with fine brush – so much time has been invested in these.

Katherine has been generous in sharing her thoughts on her blog: 20th August ‘black’; 21st August ‘black’; 26th August ‘black’; 3rd September ‘black exhibition’, among others. The latest one has many wonderful detailed images of the work in this exhibition – so do have a look.

While Katherine is mostly known as a jeweller, painting (especially watercolours) are an integral part of her expression – her sketching is mostly done in watercolours, and it is worth looking through her blog for paintings, especially the ‘Distant Elegies‘ series, to see more of her beautiful work.

Since seeing this exhibition, I’ve been thinking about my own relationship to black (as a maker of jewellery). I have two pretty strong memories on this topic from university:

  • first, Robert Baines’s favourite quote from American pop artist Claes Oldenburg that “red is redder than green, it is meaner than yellow, it is bloodier than black“;
  • secondly, from Kiko Gianocca (who took a class in my third year); he was looking at a piece of mine in progress and said (in his bewitching french/swiss accent) ‘this one must be black‘, to which I replied ‘must it really?‘, to which he replied non-committally ‘oh, it does not matter‘… I made it black after all, and I am grateful to him because it is truly beautiful black and one of my favourites.

More about my own relationship to black perhaps another time.

This exhibition is on for only a very short time (as part of the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week), so get thyself busy and get along people!

Black‘ was on 2nd and 4th September, and is on late next week 9th-11th September (1-6pm); or by appointment; Nicholas Building, Level 7, room 10.

Update (6th September): Katherine published some more photographs today! here

Update (10th September): Katherine has published some more detailed photographs of her pieces – these in-close shots really show just how much detail there are in the pieces: 6th Sep, 7th Sep, 8th Sep, 9th Sep. Also, Vikki has posted her artist statement and some more images of her pieces too – they’re wonderful photographs and do the work much more justice than mine do! And I am excited to see that the ladies were featured in the press (sadly, I wasn’t in Melbourne on Thursday, so didn’t get to see it myself).


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4 responses

7 09 2010
Mark Holsworth

It was an excellent little exhibition in a wonderful cardboard space-within-a-space. The focus on black attracted me to the exhibition and I wasn’t disappointed. Vikki was there and was excellent at explaining her work and pointed out another aspect of jewellery that I had forgotten its sound – her necklace of oxidized silver had a wonderful subtle sound.

8 09 2010
black: an exhibition « Vetti: Live in Northcote

[…] Katherine Bowman’s intricate works on paper are stunning. Melbourne Jeweller has posted an excellent review of this show, so I will not attempt to do so […]

9 09 2010
Fashion Exhibitions « Melbourne Art & Culture Critic

[…] This year the programme of exhibitions associated with the Spring Fashion Week has included exhibitions at the NGV and State Library. There is an exhibition by The Age, “The Age of Fashion” in the square at the QV centre featuring fashion photographs from The Age’s archives and 5 mannequins displaying designer labels. It is an elaborate temporary exhibition made up of plinths, vitrines and platforms. On a different scale of exhibition and funding are the exhibitions: “Sue Barnes Studio” and “Black: an Exhibition”. “Sue Barnes Studio” is a small display of 8 photographs of fashion images, advertising and logos on the street at the Journal Bar viewing space, a vitrine near the café’s door. “Black: an exhibition” is contemporary all black jewellery by Vikki Kassioras and black ink drawings by Katherine Bowman. The temporary cardboard gallery space created for the exhibition in the Nicholas Building was elegant and functional. (See Melbourne Jeweler for a review of Black: an exhibition). […]

24 06 2013
Eigengrau | Melbourne Jeweller

[…] Katherine Bowman and Vikki Kassioras ‘Black‘ […]




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