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).

‘National Contemporary Jewellery Award‘ @ COTA

26 10 2014

Hooowee, I’d forgotten how humid Sydney can feel in Spring; but the sun was out and that always makes me happy.

As planned, I popped into Courtesy of the Artist to see the ‘National Contemporary Jewellery Award‘.

Exhibition media: “The National Contemporary Jewellery Award was started in 1992 by the Griffith Regional Art Gallery to support the development of the National Contemporary Jewellery Collection.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

COTA’s gallery room is a beautiful space.

It was a strange experience though – I think I’ve already seen the pieces (perhaps all; though if not, almost all) online, so seeing them in person wasn’t as much of a thrill as it would be without the prior exposure.

Of course I’m glad I saw them in person – and I really do think that the prevalence of online documentation of exhibitions is completely fabulous (especially for anyone not able to go due to geography or mobility etc) – though this may be something for curators to think about.

I wonder if the ease of seeing pieces online (facebook especially) is taking the edge off the need to visit exhibitions in person? Though I expect that it may also in fact be increasing traffic. Do any gallery staff have a feel for the impact of online photos? As a balance, I would suspect that a few key pieces online would be ideal, with full documentation after the show has closed (oh wait, that’s been the case here, as this is a traveling show!).

Thoughts from more experienced curators, and other exhibition visitors, are most welcome.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Participating artists are:

  • Sun-Woong Bang, Alyra Bartasek, Julie Blyfield, Brendon Collins
  • Emma Fielden, Karin Findeis, Felix Gill, Pennie Jagiello
  • Lauren Joffe, Rebecca Hinwood, Carly Lay, Danielle Mackenzie
  • Vicki Mason, Shan Shan Mok, Courtnee Nichols, Carl Noonan
  • Juliette Pastorok, Felicity Peters, Jessamy Pollock,Phoebe Porter
  • Jana Roman, Bridgette Shepherd, Emily Snadden, Sarah Spackman, Blanche Tilden
photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Highlights for me were:

  • brooches by Emma Fielen
  • brooches by Jessamy Pollack (whose work I admired in BUDA last year)
  • colourful neckpiece (centre in image above) by Karin Findeis.

National Contemporary Jewellery Award 2014′ is at Courtesy of the Artist (Sydney) until 1st November 2014.


Update (28th October): It was remiss of me not to link to the Griffith Regional Gallery, where “NCJA is an acquisitive prize sponsored by Griffith City Council and held at Griffith Regional Art Gallery biennially.“. This exhibition showed there 4th – 28th September.

Also, their facebook page is where I saw high quality images of the works.


Sydney visit, part #3, Metalab & COTA

24 09 2010

The third jewellery gallery I visited while in Sydney recently was Metalab. The delightful Nina spent some time talking with me about the current exhibition, and taking me through the many drawers of works.

Designer Sushi; photograph taken with gallery permission

The current exhibition, above, was so interesting and a great idea – makers and designers were sent a small collection of items in a sushi box, and they either used them directly or for reference to create a work.

cabinets; photograph taken with gallery permission

cabinets; photograph taken with permission

The cabinets were full of treasures – my favourite piece here, and in fact of my entire visit to Sydney, is the blackened silver brooch below by Peta Kruger [her website, Metalab interview]. The Art Deco influence (almost Metropolis-like in my mind) and the hand work in the engraving is so enthralling – gorgeous! In fact, the brooch has been haunting me since I left the gallery … perhaps I should have taken it home…

Peta Kruger; at Metalab; photograph taken with gallery permission

An interesting topic Nina mentioned was that Sydney was very much an earrings and neckpiece kind of audience, which I would contrast to Melbourne having quite a strong brooch tendency. What do other makers think?

I next went to Object, but have nothing to report as the exhibition wasn’t jewellery-specific.

The last jewellery gallery for my Sydney visit was COTA (Courtesy of the Artist), the Metalab gallery in the centre of Sydney (the atmospheric Strand Arcade). I understand the store was initially a pop-up, but is shortly due to undergo a more permanent refit.

COTA; photograph taken with permission

Sydney jewellery making community – thank you for making my visit so enjoyable!