Nicole Polentas ‘Reinventing a Sense of Place. Crete and the Jewellery Object’ @ RMIT School of Art Gallery

17 04 2015

Regular readers will know of my bold parochial support of the beautiful souls I studied my RMIT degree with … and it’s with immense pleasure I visited one of our number’s PhD exhibition today.

Nicole Polentas has studied with passion and intense commitment for just over ten years now, and it is beyond incredible to see selected pieces from over the years in one place: ‘Reinventing a Sense of Place. Crete and the Jewellery Object‘.

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

It was unexpected, but I confess I was a little emotional walking through the exhibition. I remembered the first time Nicole experimented with her now-signature text ribbons; there are only a few moments when you can say you were there to witness the start of something beautiful.

The pieces are without question extraordinary; the exhibition design gorgeous and perfect.

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

I completely adore the constructs that underpin the front-facing elements … clean lines and beautifully executed. And her exploration of more colouring in her work is promising and brings an extra dimension; I especially like the pinks and greens. The materials listing is interesting in that it includes ‘Greek coffee’ and I wondered where it was used, perhaps in the resin components?

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

The work is personal; the stories close to the surface; her sharing generous and genuine; her intent clear.

I must admit to perhaps being too close to Nicole and her work to give an objective reading of the exhibition [though in reality, I rarely give objective do I(!)]. I think that knowing the artist means I see more layers in the work than a new observer may (maybe) and am too connected to be able to offer anything other than superlatives.

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

I do hope that in time her exegesis will be available for public reading.

I offer Nicole my warmest heartfelt congratulations and look forward to seeing her continued explorations and shows!

Reinventing a Sense of Place. Crete and the Jewellery Object‘ was a one-night-and-day only (examination) exhibition.

Please also see:

Please click below to read more of the media release (from her Events page):

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Emma Fielden ‘Infinity’ @ Courtesy of the Artist Studio

9 03 2015

Following her National Contemporary Jewellery award, Emma Fielden is showing Infinity‘ at Courtesy of the Artist Studio (Surrey Hills, Sydney). Sadly I’m not able to get to the exhibition in person, but feel such a strong connection to the work that I’m compelled to write about it.

I’m impossibly in love with the below image.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

When I have an incredibly strong response to another person’s art work like this, I feel like I almost want to disappear into it … I wish I could have thought of it and made it … I want to possess it, not just the object but the ideas that built it … it’s a strange ache, an unnamed emotion … and exceptionally difficult to describe (without sounding just a little psycho!).

I believe the above is a close-up of the below drawing. It’s amazing to my eyes … little changes in the tilt of her hand, ink and energy flow and such, show up in subtle unintended yet beautiful rhythms in the pattern.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

Exhibition media: “For this exhibition Emma presents a series of work on the theme infinity – a series of drawings, engraved brooches, and for the first time a print.
The notion of infinity has been emerging in Emma’s work for some time. Her earlier works involving line, mark making and drawing evolved into an exploration of the grid, and in her last body of work (2013) she came to take the grid as a symbol of infinity. Now Emma Fielden has entered into a deeper and more thematic exploration of infinity, both as a mathematic and metaphysical concept.

It was only after falling for the above drawings that I also read what Emma has written about her work: “They are pictures of the night sky. They are star gazing. They are a decimal expression of infinity. They are a trinity. They reject religion and suppose its origin. They are devotional. They are an abyss. They are wonder at the infinite and our place in it.” 

Oh my … this speaks to so many things I love … numbers and the stars. Not to mention my adoration of work that involves precision, extreme patience and attention; and I think I may also love repetition, but repetition that permits small variations.

The exhibition includes brooches too; though I think they’re trickier to get a feel for without seeing them in person.

I remember seeing the series that secured her award at Courtesy of the Artist last year and felt strangely uncertain though intrigued by them. I think their flatness, their almost two-dimensionality, felt close to unsubstantial … somehow less satisfying than if they had a little more weight or physical depth … though in retrospect this choice is no doubt entirely intentional and required for the expression of the intent.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

The Courtesy of the Artist facebook page has a interesting statement attached to one of the photographs: “The lines of the grids extend to the edge of the surface and, by virtue of the imagination, to infinity. Each element is part of the larger grid, which is itself a portion of an even larger one and so on.
Akin to Cantor’s Dust, the work points to the scale of infinity – the infinitely large and the infinitesimally small. It draws on set theory and it’s infinite infinities. And by breaking down the grid and placing it upon the body, it seeks to make the infinite intimate.

I’m sorry I cannot see the whole body of work in person; here’s hoping that perhaps in time Melbourne shall host an exhibition.

Emma Fielden ‘Infinity‘ is at Courtesy of the Artist Studio until 28th March 2015.

—-

ps. make sure you check out Emma’s website, and follow her if you’re on Instagram if you don’t already (the photograph of her drawing with magnifying lenses on is my favourite).





Exhibitions that were: 2014

2 01 2015

Again, this year has been a little tricky with energy levels … though I continue to improve and that makes me happy.

Of the exhibitions I wrote about, my top three are (really hard to choose!):

And of course I cannot have this listing exclude the blockbuster
A Fine Possession: Jewellery and Identity‘ @ Powerhouse Museum

photography under gallery conditions; no flash

photography under gallery conditions; no flash

All the other exhibitions I’ve written about in 2014 (in chronological order):

Also:





Another exhibition idea

24 12 2014

Creativity has been a subject occupying my mind a great deal lately.

As I wrote just recently, I prefer the ideation and drawing and playing, than the actual making. Therefore I wondered if an exhibition idea could be to show this part of the process as the actual exhibition items … exhibited as drawing works in their own right, alongside the proposed materials (my stash of opal pairs in this case).

I often think the tinkering with options we all do when we’re embarking on a piece is most interesting … maybe visitors would also be interesting, perhaps imagining the finished objects among the options shown in the drawings, perhaps even voting on which should be made …

Or even if different designs were drawn for each set of stones in the style of different art eras … art deco, art nouveau, medieval, contemporary, in-the-style-of famous artists/makers …

photo 2 photo 1

Interestingly I’ve noticed an exhibition coming up next year that has a concept very similar to the ‘in reply‘ one I mused about a few years ago. Funny – I often wonder about the common phrase that there are ‘no new ideas’!





RMIT graduates ‘Greater Than, Less Than’ @ RMIT

28 11 2014

You’d be forgiven for not knowing about this exhibition … graduates of RMIT Object-based Practice Gold & Silversmithing are showing some of their work at RMIT Building 2 (level 2, left at the top of the stairs).

They’ve titled the show ‘Greater Than, Less Than‘ and are using the >< signs in the catalogue  … the mathematician in me loves this.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Participating artists are:

  • Corin Adams, Cecilia Casillas, Rossmore Childs
  • Brooke Everett, Phoebe Harkness, Henry Hazeldine
  • Ada Hodgson [website], Vicky Kanellopoulos, Christopher Lee
  • Amanda Lo, Tian Lu, Stephanie Martin
  • Zeffarniah Montgomery, Jenna O’Brien, Mirinda Oosten (tumblr)
  • Natasha Sutila, Julia Tran

I walked away with my works lists scribbled all over, highlighting the pieces I liked.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Again, I fear my “liked” list would just be a repeat of the artist listing … but I’ll try to keep to a top three:

  • Jenna O’Brien’s enameled neckpieces ‘Hyde #1‘ and ‘Jekyll #1‘ are fantastic, and what marvellous feel for colour
  • Natasha Sutila’s ‘Composition III‘, an arrangement of painted pins on the wall, is clever and arresting
  • Rossmore Childs’s smithed objects pleased me (as smithed objects do!)
  • Mirinda Oosten’s ring group is displayed in an especially imaginative manner (below)

    photograph taken with permission

    photograph taken with permission

  • you’ll notice I failed to keep to just three ….

Please be sure to show your support to students and visit.

Great Than, Less Than‘ will be at RMIT Building 2 until 5th December 2014.

2013: Good+as+Gold’  @ fortyfive downstairs

2012: As Above, So Below‘ @ Victorian Artists’ Society

2011: It was like a Fever‘ @ No Vacancy Gallery

2010: Bell Weather‘ @ 1000 £ Bend

2009: Cornucopia‘ @ Guildford Lane Gallery





RMIT Honours ‘Hey Handsome’ @ First Site Gallery

27 11 2014

This is a great show! You simply must pop into RMIT First Site Gallery to see ‘Hey Handsome‘, the exhibition for RMIT Honours students from Object-based Practice, Gold & Silversmithing and Ceramics (phew, still a mouthful).

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Participating artists are:

  • Sue Buchanan, Pamela Chan, Jia Jia Ji Chen
  • Katie Collins, Allona Goren, Kate Jones
  • Chris Massey, Lindy McSwan, Thomas O’Hara
  • Jana Roman, Lesley Walsh, Kate Wischusen
  • Michael Wong, Xuelin Wong
photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

I happened to coincide my visit, quite accidentally mind, with the visit of a Fresh! judge accompanied by RMIT staff. It was interesting to overhear some of the conversation about the work; I do like to hear the perspective of those with a more experienced eye and insight into the actual making of the pieces.

It was all quite gorgeous … if I was to list those I liked I’d probably just be rewriting the ‘participating artists’ listing.

Though if I was forced to choose just three … erm …

  • Lindy McSwan’s collection stopped me in my tracks

    photograph taken with permission

    photograph taken with permission

  • Kate Jones’s massive ceramic objects are amazing (centre in below image)

    photograph taken with permission

    photograph taken with permission

  • oh please don’t make me … there are so many to like!

Hey Handsome‘ is at First Site Gallery until 5th December 2014.

Update (28th November): make sure you check out the First Site Event facebook page for opening night photographs





NMIT graduates ‘Mettle’ @ Red Gallery

19 11 2014

Hoorah for graduate exhibition season!

NMIT graduates are showing Mettle‘ at Red Gallery.
I do like this space.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

There is a lot of work here … as in all previous NMIT exhibitions actually …. and that’s a great thing, though I can sometimes feel overwhelmed with so much to look at.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Participating artists are:

  • Christine Amery, Bianca Browne, Antonia Field,  Mehrnoosh Ganji, Jessica Gilbert
  • Gemma Grace, Nao Hirata, Danielle Horseman, Joanna Hyun, Mel Jeffery,
  • Michal Klimek, Rebecca Koster, Nicole Lawrence, Sisi Liu, Lisa Lubbock
  • Philip Monk, Melrose Oh, Jan-Maree Oliveira, Shea Pinxt, Jane Reilly
  • Pierina Sannia-Carbone, Emily Jayne Schilg, Benjamin Stiekema, Mimu Tabushi
  • Marcelle Thomas, Mary Turner, Ann Welton, Callie Whelan, Ash Whitchurch, Robyn Wilson, Yokie Yatagai

It took quite a few turns around the rooms to somehow ‘get to grip’ with the works … perhaps I was a little low on comprehension power today!

Eventually I think I had a good look at all the groups. Again, as expected of NMIT, the quality of construction was mostly excellent; and I noticed more conceptual pieces and more exploration of materials than previously.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Collections I connected with and liked included:

  • Jane Reilley’s smithed pieces; she has a very strong group in the first room (image in the ‘read more’ section below) and playful colourful works in the last room too (image above)
  • Bianca Browne’s geometric works, exploration of an almost moderist aesthetic; her bracelet is very bold, I like it a lot (image in the ‘read more’ section below)
  • Callie Whelan’s enamel collection (image in the ‘read more’ section below)
  • Robyn Wilson’s earrings and shape combinations (wall panel in top image); in fact, I could see a pair on Margaret Pomeranz (and I mean that in the very best of ways!)
  • Nao Hirata’s shapes and incorporation of plastics (right of second image)

Mettle‘ is at Red Gallery until 22nd November 2014.

2013 ‘33 Carat‘ @ Red Gallery

2012 ‘Kaleidoscope‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2011 ‘Auteur‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2010 ‘Forge‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2009 ‘Mint‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

To save loading times, I’ve popped the individual photographs of the groups I liked below:

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