Patrícia Correia Domingues & Sara Gackowska ‘Surfacing’ @ Gallery Funaki

5 06 2015

Surfacing‘ is a Gallery Funaki exhibition of the work of two artists, Patrícia Correia Domingues (Portugal) and Sara Gackowska (Poland) … joint winners of the inaugural 2014 Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery for emerging artists.

surface01

photograph taken with gallery permission

I have been watching the social media and photographs of the work pop up since the opening, and yet was still surprised by how incredibly sympathetic the body of work of each artist is to the other. It is truly stunning. So much so that I even asked Katie (gallery director) if the women collaborated, or if they knew of each others’ collection as they developed the work for this exhibition [which I now know they did not].

The palate of colours are beautiful near each other – the grey of the hematite of Sara’s pieces and that of Patrícia’s necuron ones, the whites of Patrícia’s artificial coral and ivory, and the rusty-red of Sara’s resin.

The forms are resonant too – particularly the rounded ovals employed, in various scales, by each artist.

And of course the interest in each in fracturing and fault-lining their materials.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I especially liked Patrícia’s ‘Duality’ brooches (2015, artificial coral, steel), the frame one the best; and most of all her ‘Geographic & Imagination’, brooches (2015, necuron, steel) … the two in the centre (wall-mounted and on plinth) in the image below … the fault lines in the material are completely wonderful, and the scale of the wall-mounted one is just perfect. I couldn’t help but wonder how many experiments were made before these beauties were produced.

Make sure you visit Gallery Funaki’s exhibition page to see beautiful detailed photographs.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I recall one of our professors at university talking (wittering on?!) at length about ‘materiality’. At the time, I can now admit, that I was somewhat confused… however, I think I now know a little better. And if I was all about art theory, I’d say these two artists are exceptional examples of ‘materiality’ … which I like to define as the dedicated exploration of the properties and possibilities of a particular medium or material.

For ’emerging artists’ their work is refined and knowing, quiet and confident (perhaps almost determined?) … it seems that they may have spent many decades with their chosen material instead of only a few years.

Make sure you go.

Surfacing‘, an exhibition of work by Patrícia Correia Domingues and Sara Gackowska, is at Gallery Funaki until 20th June 2015.





Anna Davern ‘Impressa’ @ e.g.etal

19 05 2015

Quick sticks! Get along to e.g.etal before the end of this weekend to see Anna Davern‘s ‘Impressa‘.

Anna is an unashamed lover of all things kitsch, especially Australiana – and what’s not to love about that.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Using printed steel Anna has created brooches from images of Ned Kelly, Queen Elizabeth II (who she insists on naming Liz, much to my delight) and Queen Elizabeth I. All images have been cut into strips or squares, and those elements are then rearranged.

…Sometimes the strips are attached separated, sometimes the altered image is printed as a single image on the metal.

…Sometimes the photographic/steel layer is fastened to the blackened brooch back by delicate folded prongs, sometimes by rivets (I love rivets; I may have mentioned that before).

…Sometimes the rivets are blackened, sometimes they’re gold *swoon*.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

exhibition media; click on image for original source

The oval and round brooches mimic miniature paintings … which were once a personal and highly precious keepsake portrait of a loved one. Does that mean we are to love these people? Even though they’re so distorted?

…Or is this commenting on the fact that if we think we love and adore someone so far from our real life, then we simply must be worshiping an inevitably distorted image of them?

…Then again, perhaps Anna is just experimenting, enjoying the process and having fun.

…They look like the pictures on those funny little screen toys we used to have as kids (in the, ahem, 70s) on which the picture looks different from one angle than the other (I cannot remember what they were called); and the same optical device was recently used for a Tram advert about inspectors (Melbourne reference; one must be pleased with that).

I wondered about why these particular three people were chosen. Ned and Elizabeth II I can understand from the perspective of the sculpting of the Australian identity; Elizabeth I is not quite the same.. so I’m curious …perhaps because of her direct connection to Liz? Perhaps I’m being daft and missing an obvious connection … you will tell me won’t you, if I am?

Make sure you visit the e.g.etal page for the exhibition for more detailed photographs of some of the pieces. Especially ‘Liz Slice 3‘; look at the back of it, look at the back of it!

Exhibition media (too good not to reproduce here whole):
Davern’s work features pictures of people from Australian political and social life as a means to dissect clichéd images of Australian identity.Using images found on old biscuit tins or historical photos printed on to metal, Davern slices, rearranges and reconstructs these pictures to create works that trick the eye with their disconcerting familiarity.

By reworking these cult-like symbols their power over us becomes fluid and slippery. As objects of adornment seen through the lens of the Impressa, they offer a reflection on our cultural roots, which lie in the colonisation of Australia by the British.

Unafraid to move freely between lo-fi kitsch and the precious object, Anna continues to develop a visual language with the power to question our loyalties to conservatism. Her humorous renditions of cultural identification allay our fears of deeper, more critical discussions about political and social life, and to this end the brooches laugh at romantic notions of allegiance and turn them upside down.

Anna Davern ‘Impressa‘ is at e.g.etal until 23rd May 2015.

ps. I had a look for the exhibition title in the dictionary and found a very similar word ‘impresa’ which means a device, or motto or emblem … what a great connection.

Update (less than an hour after initial publication) with a psquillion thanks to Anna, I have attached the accompanying essay written by Ramona Barry of HandMadeLife fame … Impressa_RamonaBarry_Essay. I will give this my undivided attention forthwith

See also:





Katherine Bowman ‘My Assemblages’ @ Milly Sleeping

6 05 2015

Katherine Bowman is showing a small collection of works ‘My Assemblages‘ at Milly Sleeping (a lovely little boutique in Carlton).

It’s a gorgeous group.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

The above photograph doesn’t do it justice at all. The colours are wonderful, the display is beautifully balanced, and there’s a sense of delight that’s palpable.

I was especially taken with the pendant second-from-the-left … I even tried it on … I’m still thinking about taking it home. If you’re like me and regularly read Katherine’s blog, you’ll also have seen some images of these as I did; even so, when I saw them in person their scale surprised and pleased me.

I also tried on the rings, and they’re completely amazing (especially Ring #3).

Make sure you check out Katherine’s blog for much more beautiful photographs of these works, as well as the accompanying watercolours.

This is a perfectly compact and coherent collection, and offering this kind of showing space to a maker is pretty special. Most importantly because of the small-ish scale : my feeling is that it may permit a little more adventure, perhaps it would encourage a maker to take a little more risk to follow a new line of enquiry when the group is relatively intimate.

As a maker (though relapsed?!) I’d find this kind of presentation forum and scale much more approachable and achievable, as opposed to a blockbuster solo show (well at least that’s how I’d imagine it). And the fewer objects there are, the more each one can be seen in better focus and appreciated for its uniqueness.

Go along; be inspired.

Katherine Bowman’s ‘My Assemblages‘ is at Milly Sleeping until 24th May 2015.

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See also:

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3D printing and exhibition merchandise

1 05 2015

Yes, it’s still on my mind … I’ve been thinking about how else this technology could be used …

I’ve previously sternly criticised a few blockbuster exhibitions for their poor attempt at merchandise. The example most prominent in my memory is the lack of special or even decent jewellery ‘merch’ at the Melbourne Museum’s ‘Afghanistan‘ exhibition a few years ago [the link in that story no longer works; use this one].

As I wrote at the time: “And the ‘jewellery’ on offer? Oh dear. Oh dear me. I’d have perhaps bought some for my nieces (they’re under 10) but not for myself.

My thought grenade on this topic: I was so charmed by the little clothing ornaments, that if there were a little gold reproduction pendant (while I’d have loved a high carat version to replicate the colouring of the original, perhaps 9ct would have been the most economically viable option) on a delicate little chain (or even not on a chain – I have some at home or could easily acquire one) I’d have bought it. Seriously.

On the day I had spent more than $30 for the entry ticket and audio tour, there was parking to be paid too – so why wouldn’t the museum (quite rightly) predict I may have some disposable income to spend on a genuinely beautiful item? The merchandising doesn’t all have to be … erm … inexpensive; there is room for quality.

And who am I to say? Just a visitor. A visitor who wanted to take something home with me as a souvenir of my visit. But didn’t.

exhibition media; click on image for original source; Photographs courtesy Musée Guimet, Thierry Ollivier

exhibition media; click on image for original source; photograph Musée Guimet, Thierry Ollivier

Now … what if the museums/galleries holding huge exhibitions with massive merchandise budgets considered this possibility … choose two or three special small items from the show (or even elements of items), have them 3D scanned (with high resolution), have them 3D-printed and then cast, in lower-cost metals for the affordable end and perhaps a very small number in gold for visitors with genuine interest and cash to spend.

I’d seriously consider buying a little item that was an accurate replica of a superb ancient artefact if it was available. Of course, I’m thinking of this with respect to exhibitions that contain jewellery items … though it may have broader applications.

So there’s my gauntlet Melbourne Museum and NGV … or NGA, how about you lead the field on this? Though given the risk of anything new, I expect we’ll see this of The Met or V&A first.

I’d love to see if/when this happens …





Melissa Cameron ‘Object Evolution’ @ Bini Gallery

24 04 2015

What a few days I’ve had of jewellery viewing and gallery visiting – it’s been quite lovely and a timely reminder of how enjoyable I find it.

Melissa Cameron, once Melbourne-based and now in Seattle, is showing a mini-retrospective (if I may!) at Bini Gallery: ‘Object Evolution: Jewellery from objects 2009-2015‘.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The rebirthed jewels on show in her upcoming solo exhibition at Bini Gallery span the last six years of her artistic output. Included in the display will be the original half-cigarette-tin pair of brooches that launched her investigation, alongside new pieces finished this year. This is the first time that Melissa has had a solo show of just her object works, which begs the question, what has taken so long? “These pieces come out of my studio kind of sporadically, they are often made for specific exhibitions, so it’s only recently that I have managed to get a bunch of them back together to put a good-sized group of them on display.” Melissa adds, “It seemed like a good opportunity to bring them home while I still had all of them together.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

It’s funny, just last week I published a ‘Other April’ post that included a link to my post of Melissa’s first exhibition (well, her Honours exhibition at Monash), with the image of my favourite piece from that show. Well, it’s been altered from an object to a neckpiece (above) and is in this show.

Still a favourite of mine. And how beautiful are the shadows it casts…

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

It was interesting speaking with the gallery owner, who mentioned her initial attraction to Melissa’s work was to the geometry … she mentioned she was a maths teacher, so we had a little mathematician bonding moment, bless.

Absolutely worth a visit!

Object Evolution: Jewellery from objects 2009-2015‘ is at Bini Gallery (Collingwood) until 30th April 2015.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission





Maureen Faye-Chauhan ‘Concurrence‘ @ Gallery Funaki

23 04 2015

Maureen Faye-Chauhan is showing her first solo exhibition at Gallery Funaki, ‘Concurrence‘.

I popped into the gallery on the crest of a ‘busy wave’ (five browsing customers); it created an interesting environment in which to consider such a quiet collection. If I’m honest, I’d say it was a little challenging (but I’m just one of those people who likes quiet spaces better; I’d never be a good shop owner!).

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The complex pierced surfaces of Maureen’s jewellery allow light to play a vital role. As pieces move with the body, their steel surfaces ripple and change; interior volumes become apparent and then invisible as the viewer’s attentions shifts between the surfaces and the negative spaces within.

The photographs don’t do the work justice; the varying colours of the heat-treated mild steel are beautifully subtle. And of course you need to walk past and around them to see how the light and shadow plays.

The Gallery Funaki website has detailed photographs of the pieces – and you can see just how considered, precise and refined they are. There’s a sense of lightness, strength and delicacy.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I especially like the shell pieces. And the three pendants (in the middle of the above image) remind me of the building in London known as ‘The Gherkin’ … in the good way of definite design and clean lines.

That said, my favourites were the gold rings … if I hadn’t already heavily invested in jewellery recently, I may be more seriously considering taking one home.

Concurrence‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 2nd May 2015.

Other reading: AJF (Art Jewelry Forum) have just recently published an interview with Maureen about this exhibition that’s absolutely worth reading, for her eloquence as well as the content. I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment when I read about her interest in the moiré effect in Op Art.

[As per my usual approach, I didn’t read it until after I’d had time to distill my own thoughts (above) first.]

I like how she’s phrased this: “hasty unconsidered shortcuts most often create more work” … it’s a more elegant manner of my regular statement that ‘the short cut is often the long way around’.





Laura Potter ‘Craft Samples’ @ Personal Space Project

21 04 2015

Once again I’m totally enamored with an exhibition in Zoe Brand’s ‘Personal Space Project’ : Laura Potter‘s ‘Craft Samples‘.

This collection is titled ‘Redacted Brooches‘.

exhibition media; image used with explicit permission

exhibition media; image used with explicit permission

Without being able to see these in person, I can only get a feel for them via Zoe’s images. But what’s not to love about this group I ask you? The muted colours of the denuded transfer-printed fabric, the little ephemeral wisps of brightly-coloured embroidery thread saved into little plastic bags … like the outcome from an archeological dig or scientific investigation.

Exhibition media: “I had no idea so much of the handicraft I saw as a child came in kit-form, allowing impressive household items to be fashioned by women who had very little skill or feel for materials. My mother subscribed to a monthly magazine full of projects to sew, weave, cast and carve. It was like a craft recipe book with a list of materials and tools, step-by-step instructions, tutorial images and patterns to cut out and use. It was craft-by-numbers. I thought what my [relatives were] doing was accomplished and difficult. I am now not so sure that it was.

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

I admit to getting a bit lost in revery about this collection.

I wondered if Laura’s quasi-destruction of these pieces is an expression of her disappointment that these aren’t the unique and special objects she was led to believe. She is excavating the evidence that they’re not personally designed nor very special at all.

Perhaps she wants revenge for being tricked by exposing them for what they are? Though I dare say that if there was genuine anger then these handcrafted brooches (in their original frames) wouldn’t be so carefully disassembled for us to see their components.

At times I can see a kind of sadness here too … a quiet sorrow for things not being as once thought.

This is a such a brilliant meditation on the subject…

exhibition media

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

I completely love the display – the large group makes the investigation seem compulsive and perhaps even unfinished, both sentiments I can relate to.

As a child I did a lot of similar ’embroider by numbers’ – textile kits, with pre-printed and cut and finished fabric, and all the thread you need. I have a soft nostalgia for these objects, maybe a kinder recollection. Interestingly, I don’t ever remember seeing embroidered brooches like these, and perhaps that’s explained by Laura being a UK native – maybe these just weren’t done in Australia, but more a British object.

Be sure to read Zoe’s text about the work for her perspective too – I like reading how others’ see things; and also for more images.

Laura Potter ‘Craft Samples‘ is online at Personal Space Project (personal visits by appointment) until 30th April 2015.