Schmuck 2014: congratulations!

6 11 2013

Congratulations to those selected to exhibit in Schmuck 2014.

Especially Australian jewellers:

information provided

information provided

Nicole Polentas ‘Collective Conundrum’ @ Chili Art Gallery (Athens)

18 07 2013

I am so excited for Nicole – she has a solo exhibition in Athens opening this week, curated by Christopher Earl Milbourne.

Collective Conundrum‘ is at Chili Art Gallery from 19th to 27th July 2013.

Press release:
The Collective Conundrum is an exhibition of jewellery objects examining meta-narratives of place and identity. Each object presents itself as an amalgam of analogous perspectives, posing in an amalgamation of convoluted realities.
The foundation of the objects are built upon the re-contextualisation of traditional folklore and popular music throughout Greek history. This becomes a transformation into material form, mediating a transmission of conventions. The script is systematically structured with cultural and historical representation, which in turn presents itself as a visual puzzle.
The Collective Conundrum investigates and re-defines notions of identity and cultural authenticity, through an array of subjective signifiers. It examines the ways in which we think about cultural images, by portraying them in a new way. Through a coalescing of media, mimicry, satire and image saturation, the objects evaluate and reconfigure stereotypes, dispensing a matrix of alternate perspectives. The Greek character, the archetype, the hero are studied and manipulated, presenting a conundrum of contrasts.
The jewellery becomes the mediator and interface between what is real and what is myth.
The objects form a collective, consisting of metaphors and illusory contradictions.
Within the layers of complexity a sublime harmony is revealed!

Exhibition media

Exhibition media

Nicole_Invitation pdf-1_2

Exhibition media

For more on Nicole’s work: see my artist profile, all my stories about her, and her ‘Pschomanteum‘ exhibition at Gallery Loupe.

Also see Chili’s facebook page for more images of Nicole’s work in this exhibition.

Wish I was in Athens!

Nicole Polentas & Christopher Earl Milbourne ‘Psychomanteum’ @ Counihan Gallery

14 10 2011

Tonight (which is now last night by the time you’re reading this) was the opening of Nicole Polentas [artist profile] and Christopher Earl Milbourne ‘Psychomanteum‘ [link] at Counihan Gallery (Brunswick Town Hall).

What a wonderful event! Such a great show of support for these two artists. And an incredible body of work, displayed most especially sympathetically.

installation; photograph taken with artists permission

Exhibition media: “Christopher Earl Milbourne and Nicole Polentas explore the intersections between history and cultural memory. Symbolic evocations of place are manifest in jewellery, small-scale sculpture and song.

Two artists explore the qualities of materiality through sculpture and jewellery to provide a shared contemplation on the past, present and future.

Nicole Polentas and Christopher Earl Milbourne have designed their shared exhibition space to resemble the psychomanteum; the naturally occurring rockpools where people would go to consult the Oracles in Ancient Greece. Using cellular clusters of concrete, water and light to invert external space, the ambient and immersive gallery environment enables a consideration of the linkages between place and memory that each artist explores in their own practice.

installation (works of Nicole); photograph taken with artists permission

The opening speech from Associate Professor Robert Baines (who was head of our department when Nicole and I were studying our undergraduate degree) was pretty fabulous actually. He described the sense of giving a material form to the evoked image … I felt it really did pay due respect to the artists.

The plinths were made by the artists – so exacting and definite is the story of their work. It’s something special that they want to go to such lengths to show their work in the ‘right’ way. The tops of the plinths are concrete and many (I think most) filled with water to create the looking-pool. I also understand their hexagonal shape references the beehive, though I was so excited by the work and seeing my friends that I’ve now forgotten how this connected in (it was important, so will find out!). The exhibition design is seriously fantastic and looks great in the space.

installation (Chris's work); photograph taken with artists permission (sorry it's a bit fuzzy, the lighting was very low in this room - quite wonderful for experiencing the work though)

I am already a big fan of these two artists – they are friends of mine, and I love that I can say I’ve seen their work develop over the last six to seven years or so since we met. There is an amazing amount of work here – and their work has an exceptional two-way dialogue that really works.

Lastly, huge thanks to Nicole and her family for the wonderful Greek food spread – now THAT’s how to do an opening!!

Psychomanteum‘ is at Counihan Gallery until 6th November; there will be an artist talk this Saturday 15th October 2011.

Please click below to read more of the media release:

Read the rest of this entry »

Artist profiles

16 05 2011

I’ve been thinking it may be time to write another post in my ‘Artist Profile’ series … though who to ask? … while I consider that question, I’ve very much enjoyed reading my previous artists profile posts:

  • Nicole Polentas (13th May 2009)

    Nicole Polentas; Exile: The Blackest Night necklace 2008; silver, gold, copper, plastic, epoxy, image, glass powder, paint, pearls; 420 x 180 x 60 mm

  • Katherine Wheeler (10th June 2009)

    Mini Teapots; image by the artist

  • Claire O’Halloran (1st October 2009)

    Necklace for The Grande; image used with artist permission; copyright belongs to the artist

  • Lucy Hearn (26th March 2010)

    e. g. etal pendants, 2008, Sterling silver, copper, enamel and plastic - photo by Terence Bogue

  • Michelle Taylor (24th November 2010)

    Drifting Ranges, Michelle Taylor; photograph by Tom Roschi; courtesy of the artist; not to be reproduced without permission

images published with permission of artists, not to be reproduced without permission

‘XAOS’ @ Hellenic Museum

3 04 2010

I was honoured to be invited by Nicole Polentas (see my previous artist profile) to the formal opening of the ‘XAOS‘ exhibition at the Hellenic Museum a few weeks ago now. Unfortunately, I have been so incredibly busy that I haven’t been able to write about it before now, and it is only on until 9th April – so get your skates on (hours are limited: Tue-Thur 10am-3pm, or by appointment).

This was the most formal exhibition opening I’ve attended. It was invitation only, there were a few speeches (which all started with lengthy acknowledgements of distinguished attendees, including a number of politicians and a representative of the Prime Minister) and wonderful canapes were enjoyed, all before we were permitted to go upstairs to the exhibition itself.

formal speeches

Nicole is exhibiting alongside fashion designer Christiana Livaditis and photographer Elli Ioannou. As Nicole explained in her artist profile, her work is strongly connected to place and identity, and her work in this exhibition is heavily influenced by her recent trip to Crete.

I understand Nicole approached the Hellenic Museum with her idea for this exhibition. It’s excellent that the museum explored this idea with her and we now have a fantastic exhibition showcasing the work of three Greek-Australian women.

All photographs taken with artist and gallery permission; amended copyright notice: the below photographs are not to be reproduced without author permission.

photograph taken with artist permission; amended copyright notice as above

The colouring of the pieces in this collection had a special impact on me. Previously I had associated much of Nicole’s work with blues and whites and silvers; and I was excited to see a few strong new colours here – moss green and a yummy yellow (I don’t usually like yellow, but this one is lovely).

photograph taken with artist permission; amended copyright notice as above

The ‘plinths’ weren’t your traditional and boring old blocks, but had a fabulous feel of ancient ruins – I’m pretty sure that wasn’t coincidental either (I understand Nicole’s Dad worked really hard on this – yay for Dads!).

photograph taken with artist permission; amended copyright as above

Under the clear dome at the back of the above image is a brooch of luscious yellow gold (I think from memory it’s 22ct) – so gorgeous…

I think there are three rings, one bracelet, nine brooches and three necklaces … the necklaces, below, are wonderful (I’d love to see one on the body). The white one in particular (second from the right) attracted quite a lot of attention and admiration on the opening night, many people were connecting with it.

photograph taken with artist permission; amended copyright notice as above

Each piece has a story behind it, and it’s a shame that I can’t share all of them here … perhaps a book, with stories beside gorgeous photographs of the pieces, is the next project Nicole?!

XOAS‘ is at the Hellenic Museum until 9th April 2010 (limited opening hours as above).

‘XAOS’ @ Hellenic Museum, opening tonight

23 03 2010

A new exhibition ‘XAOS‘ is opening tonight (invite only) at the Hellenic Museum. It will be open to the public from tomorrow. I’m particularly looking forward to the work by Nicole Polentas (see my previous artist profile).

with permission of a participating artist

Artist Profile: Nicole Polentas

13 05 2009

With some of her work currently showing in the ‘Paper Text‘ exhibition at Studio 20/17 (Sydney, until 30th May), I thought it would be great to chat with Melbourne-based maker Nicole Polentas.

Nicole Polentas; Exile: The Blackest Night necklace 2008; silver, gold, copper, plastic, epoxy, image, glass powder, paint, pearls; 420 x 180 x 60 mm

Exile: The Blackest Night, necklace 2008-2009; silver, gold, copper, plastic, epoxy, image, glass powder, paint, pearls

What have you been up to since we graduated from our RMIT undergraduate degree (at the end of 2006)?

Since I graduated from the undergraduate degree I decided to return to study and undertook an MFA (Masters in Fine Art) by coursework. I wanted to develop a process that I could use as a way of making objects that would become part of my identity as a maker. During the MFA I was trying to push the boundaries of what a jewellery object can be and what meanings it can project. I was experimenting with traditional and non-traditional processes and materials.
I exhibited at Galerie Marzee in the international graduate show in the Netherlands (in 2007) and also at Talente in Munich (in 2008). I was also commissioned by Kraft to make a gold commemorative jar for Vegemite (in 2008). I was also awarded the first prize for the Diana Morgan gold and silversmithing alumni and postgraduate show (in 2008). I recently returned from a trip to The Netherlands which I was involved in and helped manage the group show “Jewellery Topos” at Galerie Marzee. I am currently undertaking a research degree at RMIT.

Wow! See the below links for more details and images:

I have found some more information and images of other work Nicole has also exhibited:

Oil Bowl

Oil Bowl, 2008

Where are you currently exhibiting? Any upcoming shows?

I am currently exhibiting in ‘Paper Text‘ at Studio 20/17 in Sydney.
And I will be in the upcoming show at BUDA.

  • ‘Paper Text’ runs at Studio 20/17 until 30th May 2009.
  • The BUDA show isContemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Exhibition‘ and is showing 6th – 21st June 2009.
Nicole Polentas; Untitled (bracelet); 2006; Sterling silver, plastic, copper and image; Photography by Jeremy Dillon

When Water Spills Over (bracelet); 2006; Sterling silver, plastic, copper and image; Photography by Jeremy Dillon

What has been your most exciting / rewarding experience over the last two years?

The trip to Galerie Marzee to see my work in Europe; and when I was awarded an Australian postgraduate scholarship to continue studies for the next 2 years.

4. What is the next step for your work?

As I am undertaking my MA I am researching the ways that jewellery objects can provide a sense of place through the exploration of collective memory, within my cultural background. I am traveling to Crete to research and experience the landscape and aim to engage in a social enquiry into cultural memory, to gain first hand resources that will inform my jewellery objects.


My Black Night, 2008

It has been wonderful to see the vision Nicole is now expressing as it has developed from her first steps in that direction during our degree – her work is beautiful and always impeccably made. Her investigation into a sense of place, and identity through place, is one I connect with strongly; and it heartens me to see her hard work and talent is being recognised both locally and internationally.

All  images used with permission of the artist.