Claire McArdle ‘Tokens of Place’ @ Guildford Lane Gallery

24 08 2010

Thank goodness Guildford Lane Gallery is open on Sundays, otherwise it would be more likely I’d miss out on some exhibitions … there never seems enough time to visit all shows I want to see (for example, I am very unhappy I missed out on Open Studios at Nicholas Building – damn work!).

installation view; photograph taken and used with artist permission

Claire McArdle’s show at Guildford Lane Gallery is ‘Token of Place – which she spoke about in the rapid fire papers at the RMIT seminar a few weeks ago. The show was on the ground floor when I visited (above), where it looked a little lost among darker music space (the gallery hosts jazz groups on Fridays I understand), though Claire tells me that it will be moved to the second floor for the next fortnight.

installation view; photograph taken and used with artist permission

This is an interesting body of work, where each piece is made with collected and crushed rock/dirt and is titled with the location and time the materials were collected. I really responded to the idea of tracing a journey.

Claire writes in her artist statement:
The pieces could be from a street you walk down every day.
Each piece holds a memory of a place, to be carried with the wearer on their personal journey.
All the pieces are blackened silver with the variation in colour and texture of the rocks presenting a palette of the urban and rural environments the artist traverses.
These collected works are a history of place for the maker. A journey traced in jewellery.
They are a memento of a moment.
A token of a place.


The pieces are very well presented against (and incredibly discretely and well attached to) boards that look like rendered concrete – a perfect background for the pieces derived from an urban environment.

I particularly liked:

  • a little pin with dark green material called ‘Cedar Avenue, 4.14pm‘;
  • the resolution to the earring construction on ‘Brunswick Street, 12.42pm‘ is wonderful;
  • and the hinged earrings ‘Heatherdale Road, 12.18pm‘ were well-made, unexpectedly and delightfully sparkly.

Drybough Street, 7.12pm ; image courtesy of artist; copyright belongs to the artist

The above image was one Claire sent to me – I like that it’s placed against the concrete and not in a typical ‘white-space’.

The pieces as a group tell a story and have a shared vision/intent, and as such the show has great cohesion – contributed to no doubt by the palette of found rocks but also due to the choice to only use blackened sterling silver.

I wondered if the design of each was influenced by or referenced the place the materials were found, or something that was in her mind when she found them…

Claire McArdle’s ‘Tokens of Place‘ is at Guildford Lane Gallery until 29th August 2010.

Exhibitions that were…

22 01 2010

A friend has asked which exhibitions I enjoyed most during 2009. What a fabulous question! I liked the idea of recalling the many exhibitions I’ve visited in Melbourne, and making some attempt to choose my favourite(s).

The “Archive Listing” page will provide the interested reader with all of the posts I’ve written, including the many exhibition reviews. While I won’t go through all of the ones I’ve visited, I’ll make special mention of a handful (in chronological order, just for fun) and why they caught my attention.

There were many others that were wonderful, but I cannot list them all! Also, there were many outstanding individual works within groups exhibitions too…

I’d love to hear from readers and regular exhibition visitors – what was your favourite exhibition in 2009?

‘Explorations 2009’ @ Guildford Lane Gallery

17 12 2009

While at Guildford Lane Gallery visiting the RMIT Masters exhibition last week, I also visited the Explorations 2009 exhibition sponsored by A&E Metals.

photograph taken with permission

I found this show disappointing. Not entirely due to the work itself, but mainly due to the sheer number of pieces and their presentation. The 244 pieces were shown in a handful of showcases; in my view they were too close to each other to do justice to each and to see each individually. It got all a bit overwhelming.

photograph taken with permission

There were a number of very good pieces here. The piece above, the winner of holloware or object, is by Christopher Gollin of Enmore Design Centre; it looks kind of like dried orange bits inside, which is a really interesting juxtaposition to the fine smithing and highly polished exterior. In this cabinet is also a piece by Melissa Cameron, behind slighty to the right of the main object.

photograph taken with permission

The piece in the centre above is ‘Storm Boy Series‘ aluminium object by Joanne Piper – I quite liked it.

The exhibition media states: “‘Explorations 2009‘: “The unique exhibition, presented by one of Australia’s leading jewellery suppliers, features new work by over 250 professional jewellers and hobbyists from across Australia and New Zealand. This will be the first year the event travels outside Sydney to Melbourne.

It is my understanding that this is unrestricted entry / not curated (please correct me if that’s wrong); displaying such a huge number of pieces is indeed a challenge, and this show highlighted to me that difficulty. For those who saw the show in Sydney, was the display similar? I wonder if the layout of this particular gallery space may have limited the number of display cases used…

Explorations 2009‘ is at Guildford Lane Gallery until 20th December

‘RMIT Masters of Fine Arts Graduate Show 2009’ @ Guildford Lane Gallery

14 12 2009

Continuing RMIT’s love affair with Guildford Lane Gallery, and why not I say(!), is the ‘Masters of Fine Arts Graduate Show 2009‘. This exhibition crosses all of the Fine Art disciplines at RMIT – gold and silversmithing, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics, new media, and more.

photograph taken with gallery permission

The gold and silversmithing department was represented by (alphabetically):

  • Katherine Brunacci – highly coloured enamelled and gem-set pieces, referencing the glamour of the 1940-50s
  • Dougal Haslem [site; Pieces of Eight] – meticulously crafted pieces with mechanical references
  • Simone Krok
  • Christopher Earl Milbourne – image below; left to right: ‘Pyromid‘, ‘Intact Bulkhead Section [post-blast]‘, ‘Trinity Apartment Block #2‘; I really like the honesty and deceptive simplicity of these pieces
  • Hyun-Jung Moon – folded metal pieces
  • Hannah Ren [blog]

work of Christopher Earl Milbourne; photograph taken with gallery permission

I also very much liked the large-scale photograph of a white pressed metal ceiling (centre of the first image) – however, as I was visiting the day the show opened, but before all the pieces had been properly labelled, I am not entirely sure whose work this was. If you know who the artist is then please leave a comment so I can attribute it correctly – for it was quite lovely and would actually look very nice in my home!

Update (14th December): I received a very quick reply today from the people at Guildford Lane Gallery (thank you to Sarah!). The photograph that I like on the back wall in the first image above is by Frances Battersby, and is called “Double Memorial – Seijaku“. The most fascinating part of this is that Frances is studying jewellery in her Masters at RMIT NZ – how funny that I fall for a photograph by a jeweller!

photograph taken with gallery permission

The two rooms are beautifully laid out and there is enough space between them so each piece can be enjoyed on its own – just as it should be!

Masters of Fine Arts Graduate Show‘ is at Guildford Lane Gallery until 20th December 2009.