Calendar: March 2014

28 02 2014

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Sharing the jewellery love

26 02 2014

I’ve been made aware (thanks to Zoe Brand and Wit Myt) of a collective of British-based jewellers wanting to take a contemporary jewellery exhibition to Milan Design Week.

Think big Moving On Collective, YEAH.

I think this is a great idea; so I’ve given them a little support (via KickStarter).

fundraising media

fundraising media

I look forward to seeing them succeed; and I hope they document their excursion for international jewellery lovers.

Update (18th March): excellent news, Moving On Collective have been successful in raising funds to get to Milan! I can’t wait to see what they do





Past exhibition: ‘The Jewels of JAR’

24 02 2014

A recent post by Marcus Banyan (ArtBlart) pointed me to a current exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – Jewels by JAR.

The photographs on his post, and the museum website, reminded me of the exhibition JAR pieces I saw in London many moons ago; apparently the only previous one of his work.

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

From memory there was no lighting in the rooms, or perhaps only the barest to be able to navigate oneself safely about. My memory is of visitors being furnished with their own little flashlight to illuminate each piece in the wall-recessed display cabinets. Looking at photographs of the current show, it seems that the lighting is within the vitrines and no-one has flashlights – I wonder if I imagined that part?

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

I especially liked this text from one of the catalogue essays: “Every piece, once it is ready to be sold, comes with the ghost of the person who will eventually wear it.” (‘Solace’ by Frederick Seidel, 2002, included text); while I’m not convinced I can see souls haunting these particular objects, I do like the idea in general.

However I do remember at the time realising that I would never make pieces like this – not the least because of the incredible technique I’d need to master, but due to my aversion to all things representative.

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

If you do happen to go to the current JAR exhibition, prepare to be dazzled, metaphorically and physically (just do a simple google image search and you’ll know what I’m saying). It could almost be too much of a good thing with over 400 pieces. For interest, there was a rather brutal review of the show in the NY Times.

The Jewels of JAR‘ was held in the Gilbert Collection at Somerset House, London from 2nd November 2002 – 26 January 2003.





Tinkering

23 02 2014

I’m tinkering with an idea.

Yup, I thought it was such a rare and special moment I would share it, as we all know how there has been a dearth of ideas lately…. at least in this house… in this mind…

tinkering

tinkering

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Update (about twenty minutes after original publication): … and to somehow prove the unexpected value of sharing, when I saw this photograph as part of the post (as opposed to the drawing being on my desk and having looked at it for the last few hours) I suddenly saw it differently and had a blinding new idea.

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Powerhouse Museum

21 02 2014

Recently my friend and fabulous jeweller Nicole Polentas highlighted that one of her pieces is part of the Powerhouse Museum’s permanent collection (purchased in 2012). How super!

Being a Melbourne resident (for just over a decade now), I’m not very familiar with the Powerhouse Museum (it’s in Sydney; you probably knew that). This new information gave me reason to investigate further online.

I am especially impressed with their pages sharing details of their acquisitions. I believe every publicly funded art institution should follow this example. [I couldn’t see equivalent information on the NGV site.]

Even more impressive is the number of contemporary, and older, jewellery items acquired in recent years; much donated and others purchased, many of those using the Yasuko Myer Bequest.

Yay for the Powerhouse Museum.

I understand that the Art Gallery of South Australia has a wonderful collection of contemporary jewellery under the bequest, the Rhianon Vernon-Roberts Memorial Collection. Sadly I couldn’t find much information on this on their website; though I do remember seeing it in person when our university group visited the gallery and had a private showing. Ah memories.

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And while speaking of the Powerhouse, Gallery Loupe’s facebook page mentions that there is something pretty special brewing for September this year. Oooooh, exciting.





Melbourne Now ‘Contemporary Jewellery’ @ NGV

19 02 2014

I must admit to being rather ambivalent about this mega-exhibition-event. ‘Melbourne Now‘ is a huge collection of shows and events, staged by National Gallery of Victoria, spread across the two main galleries and many other locations.

Why haven’t I been overwhelmingly excited (like many others it seems)? Perhaps it’s just me, but I found the exhibition website difficult to navigate and frankly confusing. It felt awkward to get a handle on all that was happening (I’ve used the word ‘bamboozled’ more than once when discussing it). Looking at the website this week though it feels less tricksy; perhaps it has evolved over the length of the exhibition.

Eventually I found my way to the ‘Contemporary Jewellery‘ exhibition.

on the landing of floor 3 of NGV international

on the landing of floor 3 of NGV international; not sure why some of the lighting looks yellow (my camera isn’t very fancy to figure such things out)

Exhibition media: “Melbourne is recognised as a leading centre for the production of contemporary jewellery. Presented via a mild steel armature designed by Melbourne architecture firm Muir Mendes, this installation presents diverse technical, material and conceptual approaches to jewellery, including millennia-old craft traditions and innovative new methods.

Am I being especially sensitive to be a little uncertain about the show being on the landing? It’s a good use of the space sure, a high traffic area and therefore providing good exposure; though it’s not exactly high status … or is it in fact the highest status, with not being hidden in a room? Well, now I’m just unsure about it.
The cases are sleek though; I liked them.

melbnow_06

Meredith Turnbull, Stephen Gallagher, Phoebe Porter

Participating artists (reverse-alphabetical by surname, as per Melbourne Now listing):

  • Meredith Turnbull, Blanche Tilden
  • Lousje Skala
  • Emma Price, Phoebe Porter, Nicole Polentas, Tiffany Parbs
  • David Neale
  • Vicki Mason, Sally Marsland, Carlier Makigawa
  • Manon van Kouswijk
  • Marian Hosking, Kirsten Haydon, Jo Hawley
  • Allona Goren, Stephen Gallagher
  • Maureen Faye-Chauhan
  • Mark Edgoose
  • Bin Dixon-Ward
  • Nicholas Bastin, Roseanne Bartley, Robert Baines

There are links for each of the artists on the exhibition page.

For me the most outstanding object was by Robert Baines (below) – the colouring and construction are a progression from recent work, and I love that it’s new and I haven’t seen it before. It’s a crazy kind of coral growth in purples and pinks and silvery-whites and gold. Outrageous and fabulous.
I would like to take it home with me … anyone want to donate it to my place?

Robert Baines

Robert Baines

It isn’t a simple matter to just list the other pieces I liked, for there were many indeed. That said though, Meredith Turnbull’s work is stunning and certainly worth mentioning.

In an adjacent room Meredith has also created a space and materials for children to create their own neckpieces and add to the wall display. This was a total delight and a wonderful way to bring the little ones into the art and making world.

neckpieces on display

neckpieces on display

It’s worth exploring the other rooms on the same floor.
I thought the collection of Prue Venables‘s ‘Tea Strainers‘ were beautiful.
And the watercolour faces of Sangeeta Sandrasegar were evocative and thoughtful (VettiLiveinNorthcote showcases this work too).

I did look about on the other floors, though am sad to report that nothing there took my heart or mind. I’m kind of disappointed, as I was hoping to be swept away and amazed. Perhaps though it was just my frame of mind on the day…

Mark Holsworth of Black Mark blog wrote about it; and I especially liked his connection of the event branding colour to the ‘Yellow Peril’.

Marcus Banyan, of ArtBlart blog, has written at length also (part1, part2); I agree with his overview and particularly responded to his summary on the first post.

Melbourne Now‘ is at NGV and other locations until 23rd March 2014.

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Update (a few hours after initial publication): Since writing the above I’ve been wondering – does anyone know how the artists were selected to be part of this exhibition? I’m fairly certain it wasn’t by open submission or application; perhaps invitation or curator selection or gallery recommendation?

Of the 23 makers, there are two emerging (early career) artists only a few years out of university. Many of the artists are probably best described as early or mid-career; and quite a number are established.

It could be suggested that a ‘now‘ exhibition would do well to include more work from the newer makers or even from students (or more experimental individuals). That said though, it must be acknowledged that the strength of the Melbourne jewellery community is its diversity and support across ‘experience’ depth, so including all levels is perfectly reasonable.

Looking at the artist biographies, it looks like there aren’t any who have not undertaken formal education – even though the text on the wall mentions the richness of the community including self-taught makers.

Still much to think about.

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Update (21st February): Marcus’s text I mention above is worth reproducing here for your reading enjoyment (with author permission): “As with any group exhibition there are highs and lows, successes and failures. Totally over this fad for participatory art spread throughout the galleries. Too much deconstructed/performance/collective design art that takes the viewer nowhere. Good effort by the NGV but the curators were, in some cases, far too clever for their own (and the exhibitions), good. 7/10“.

Also worth reading is the review that Marcus also quotes: that in the Sydney Morning Herald – it’s pretty scathing by my reading.

One of my favourite statements: “… the exhibition is an act of metropolitan navel-gazing on a scale inconceivable in any other Australian capital. The catalogue is filled with references to Melbourne’s global status and international sophistication, but this event is insular and tribal almost by definition.”

Ouch.

Thankfully I knew my interest (energy and attention) limitations and only wanted to look at the one aspect of the whole show (for which I am unashamed) – for just reading about the whole shebang makes me reel and feel like I’m drowning (and we come back to my initial impression of the bamboozle).

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Sunset

18 02 2014

I like sunset too.

sunset 18Feb14

sunset 18Feb14, looking east