Admiring: Speckner and Britton

21 01 2013

While putting together my favourite exhibitions since I started writing this blog, I remembered a conversation I had with Katie Scott of Gallery Funaki: how curious it was to her that I responded so strongly to Helen Britton‘s industrial‘ exhibition given my aesthetic and taste in jewellery is quite conservative.

In talking on this point, I admitted that while Bettina Speckner had been my most favourite maker since I first saw her exhibition at Gallery Funaki in early 2009, it even surprised me that I now rated Britton’s current body of work as my equal favourite.

It wouldn’t be fair to say they’re ‘similar’, though there are aspects that are sympathetic perhaps.

With respect to the two exhibitions I saw, each makes with significant restraint and consideration, with extraordinary attention to and care for detail, and an exceptional deliberateness (if that’s a word!). Perhaps this may be said of many artists … so what else draws me to them both?

To my eyes and mind, I see in both collections a language of shapes that remind me of Victorian and medieval Europe – the outlines of Speckner’s brooches and Britton’s rings. I may even go so far as to describe the aesthetic as ‘teutonic’, or at least my imagining of that word.

image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

Bettina Speckner; image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

Helen Britton; image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

It could be said that Britton’s ‘industrial‘ exhibition had a more muted colour palette than her wider body of work (there were a number of darker or raw-metal pieces, which I liked best); further, perhaps the pieces I responded to the most in this group may even be unusual in her oeuvre?

For more of Britton’s work, see her Klimt02 page.
For more Speckner, see her website.

Do you see similarities in their work? What do you think?


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