‘5×7: early career Australian makers’ @ Gallery Funaki

14 05 2016

Oh dear readers, it has been a marvellously convoluted life that I’ve been living over the last month or more … so much so that it was only possible to visit ‘5×7: early career Australian makers‘ at Gallery Funaki on its last day.

For that I most sincerely beg forgiveness … though I anticipate that many of you have visited yourself, and if not I hope you’ve been watching the online pictures.

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Lindy

Makers invited to exhibit are:

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Marcos (left) and Zoe (right)

I’ve been a long-time sincere admirer of Inari’s work – you may never, or perhaps only rarely, see work with such genuine spirit; or an artist with such a bright internal fire and need to create. The earrings and brooch in this collection were standouts for me; their darkness and surface finish is incredibly ethereal, though somehow broodingly standoffish at the same time. The little aluminium pin was a delight too. And while I admit to being troubled by not being able to hear what the larger scale sculptures were saying, I cannot help but be impressed by their scale and confidence.

I’ve also been a long-time supporter of, and interlocutor with, Zoe – her work is full of words and I freakin’ love words. I’m brutally self-critical and open about my struggle with humour and irreverence in jewellery, as I am far too much of a rigid traditionalist regarding the preciousness of adornment … though I like to think that I’m lightening up a little through exposure to work like Zoe’s (the earrings she’s making for the current Bilk exhibition are fantastic fun – see!). I have such respect for her work, her ethic, her enthusiasm in encouraging other makers, and truly wish I had her approach to making. I actually had a bit of a senior moment, when I initially misread the ‘GO ON’ pendant as ‘GOON’ … ah, showing my Queensland university days there.

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Inari (left) and Annie (right)

In all her previous graduate exhibitions (that I’ve been able to visit) I’ve called out Lindy’s work as exceptional – I do really respond to her vessels’ shapes, and the black is the blackest black I’ve seen in a very long time (it must take her so much preparation and intense care to create). If I hadn’t blown my budget on my recent Norwegian adventures, I may have brought one home with me – though the ones I responded to most had already been bought (which is so super for them and Lindy, not so much for me).

Annie’s work felt a little different to the other makers, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why … perhaps it was due to the colours, with these pieces being pale blue and pinks, and the other work in the show being quite monochromatic and/or low/subdued colouring. Sadly I have quite an aversion to pastels – completely not the fault of the maker of course, all my own fault!

The collection of pendants by Marcos was a revelation. It shouldn’t have been of course, as I’ve seen his work in many graduate and other shows … but it seems this particular group really called out to my attentions. I was speaking with another maker recently, and they made a great observation that I agree with (but cannot claim as my own) : he makes perspex look like it’s not perspex. It can really be a tricky material, though in his hands it’s transformed and given a delicious matt finish. How he put the colours into the holes in the material is beyond me! I spent ages, along with today’s most excellent gallery attendant, trying to figure how how he did it … part of me really really seriously wants to know, but I rather enjoy the mystery of not knowing too.

Warmest congratulations to the makers for being invited … by the best contemporary jewellery gallery in the universe no less(!) … to exhibit in this group show. I look forward to seeing how their work develops over the coming years.

5×7: early career Australian makers‘ was at Gallery Funaki until 14th May 2016.

ps. a note on photography: there was a sign asking for no photographs; this is the first time I’ve seen this at Funaki though it is of course understandable; the above photographs were taken with explicit gallery permission

Emma Fielden ‘Iota’ @ Gallery Funaki

26 11 2015

It was such an absolute pleasure to finally see Emma Fielden‘s work in person in Iota‘ at Gallery Funaki.

Wow. Just wow.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

“At the centre of my practice is the notion of infinity. The ideas that any line drawn is a mere portion of its infinite potential, and that a mark made is a part within a whole, are fundamental beginnings in my work, which I explore through drawing and objects, in various materials and techniques.” EF, 2015

I was exceptionally interested in seeing the handwritten ‘Infinite‘ drawings, that I’d responded to (incredibly strongly) via images from her Sydney exhibition earlier this year. Even more amazing than I expected.

For some reason I thought that the drawings were built up of little circles; but now realise that it is the number 3 repeated … in a secular meditation on the repeating decimal representation of 1/3 … and being in a triptych, together the three complete to a singular ‘one’.

Make sure you read Emma’s own explanation on her website – which of course, as per usual, I only read after writing the above(!): “The work references devotional religious acts and is itself a devotional act.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

The brooches and vessels were a revelation. And smaller than I expected; in the good way, for I like smaller things.

If you visit, please make sure you ask for her technique to be explained. While the pieces are most definitely beautiful in their own right, I believe understanding their construction … the intense precision freedom involved … can only add to their appeal.

Initially I was a wondering if perhaps a perfectly circular (or other geometric) edge shape would align and reflect with the overall concept of infinity … for somehow I have a view, not unlike our ancient and medieval forefathers, that infinite must mean perfect. Perhaps also because I saw perfect geometry in her other Infinity pieces. However I let go of that requirement when I was told that Emma actually makes her own ingots and shapes then to make the plate for the brooches, in many/most cases permitting the edges to form as they choose … another practice I relate to.

I really did want to take some home, especially ‘The Jewel (after James Wright)‘ and the one that looks like an opened clam. Do have a look at the detailed photographs … you can see how the surface detail is formed by repeated engraving. They are a marvel.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

And vessels! There should be more vessels in the world I tell you.

Axis Mundi is also an important component of the exhibition. I think perhaps my aversion to shiny-shiny interrupted my contemplation … the mirror is important, for it reflects the construction into an infinity … the vision is coherent, the installation takes hours and hours (nay, days!). Of course the mirror makes total sense … though I have a thing about mirrors … (this is usually where one says ‘it’s not you, it’s me’).

It’s pretty obvious I respond strongly to Emma’s work … the reflections on the infinite … the implicit and intuitive mathematical fundamentals … the devotion … the mediation, obsession, attention to detail, commitment … quiet determination … there is an exceptional clarity that I can only wish for.

Emma Fielden ‘Iota‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 5th December 2015.

Warwick Freeman ‘Prime’ @ Gallery Fuanki

10 09 2015

Warwick Freeman’s latest solo show at Gallery Funaki is ‘Prime … an exploration of the three primary colours through single materials : yellow – silcrete, blue – lapiz lazuli, red – jasper.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

I wanted to like this show … sadly I felt I couldn’t connect with much of it; by no means is that anyone’s doing but mine of course. Perhaps the colours were too strong for me? Perhaps the near-figurative pieces triggered my figurative-aversion? Perhaps I have work to do to develop a more intuitive understanding of materiality?

[I nearly didn’t share the above paragraph … I fear readers may confuse ‘liking’ with ‘respecting’ … I totally respect the work and the artist; why wouldn’t you respect a person willing to share their art? Often when I feel unconnected I expect it’s entirely my problem that I must have missed the point.]

That said, I really did like the brooches made with dust from the stone materials – the colouring is painterly and the backs are beautifully sparely constructed. They reminded me of his previous show ‘Making Dust‘.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

The line of carved faces on the wall (above) were interesting … naturally triggering my figurative ‘issues’, but I love collections displayed like this, as though in an anthropomorphic museum.

Prime‘ is part of Radiant Pavilion and is at Gallery Funaki until 12th September 2015.

Other posts:

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.


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.