Whitehorse Jewellery / Box Hill graduates ‘Allegory’ @ No Vacancy

14 11 2013

I do like graduate exhibition season; though would prefer it if Melbourne’s weather could sort itself out – I mean honestly, where’s the sunshine?!

Allegory‘ is the graduate exhibition of the students from Box Hill Tafe Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology (Jewellery); as a group they go by the title of Whitehorse Jewellery.



My initial impressions:

  • muted / restricted colour palette (with the exception of Megan Greenwood)
  • lots of silver
  • quite a bit of metal-smithing (a good thing) and especially copper
  • perhaps casting was a focus during their course?
  • No Vacancy gallery is a pretty big space to fill!

The accompanying (free) book is well produced. And I noticed this in the NMIT book too, that graduates are publishing contact details (email, site, facebook); while I’m sure this isn’t the first year this has been done, it’s worth giving it a mention and acknowledging that this is a good thing to do.

While talking about the book, it always makes me a little sad that the deadlines for photography and printing usually mean that the most complex and accomplished pieces are not able to make it into the booklet … this is by no means a criticism (I’ve had this happen to me too) and I can’t think of a solution, it’s just a little bit of a shame in terms of a representative keepsake.



Participating makers are (alphabetical by surname):

  • Man Chaing
  • Helen Diprose
  • Megan Greenwood [facebook]
  • Melanie Hilder [facebook]
  • Samantha Lee [site]
  • Tanya Louey
  • Alicia Hannah Naomi [site; blog]
  • Helen Paterson
  • Georgia Pignolet
  • Jesse Thomas

Many of the students contributed work to Lord Coconut’s recent ‘Melbourne Cufflink’ exhibition and prize.

Megan Greenwood's work

Megan Greenwood’s work

I especially liked Megan Greenwood’s object (right in the image above); and the raindrops neckpiece by Helen Diprose. My gallery-visiting-friend very much admired the work of Alicia Hannah Naomi [check out how much she loved them in her post]; I also like the rings that looked like they were from out-of-space minerals (maybe made by electro-forming or casting?). I also got a huge kick out of the artist statement for Jesse Thomas, especially the last sentence: “He blames Star Wars for this”.

Allegory‘ is at No Vacancy Gallery until 17th November 2013.

2011 silverspun‘ @ £1000 bend

2009 Peep Show‘ @ Self Preservation

Claire McArdle ‘Gilty’ @ No Vacancy Gallery

29 04 2013

I was really looking forward to seeing Claire McArdle‘s ‘Gilty‘ exhibition. The exhibition opened on Monday night (22nd April), but I wasn’t able to visit until the Saturday.

Exhibition media: “If an illusion deceives your perception does it make the first understanding invalid?
Does a gilt object betray us in some way or does it possess a truth of its own?
A skin of gold matches the contours of the bead in precise detail. It masks the underlying material of the piece which makes up 99% of its volume and 0% of its surface. How do you value the piece?
Is this piece pretending to be something else or is it exactly what it is and we have deceived ourselves with visual assumptions?
If you know the chain carrying the beads, the chain which is almost fully covered, is made of 18ct gold, how do you value the piece now?
Is this a truth wrapped in a deception? Or is it just a piece to be perceived with available knowledge and accepted for its form and known materiality?
Is this work guilty for being gilty?

Together with the magic exhibition image below, you can understand why I was fascinated and was looking forward to seeing the show.

from facebook; click on image for original source

from facebook; click on image for original source

I was imagining necklaces just like the one above, in my eyes referring to ancient works, lining the walls and challenging us to wonder how we value them if they’re plated and not pure gold … or even a mixture of both … and how do we know …

Instead there were chains on black circles, accompanied by photographs of what must have been there before.
It was incomprehensible to me and my friend.
We were both incredibly disappointed.
What had gone wrong with our understanding of the exhibition media?


installation; 27th April

We sought out comfort (for me, churros and chocolate) and sat down to chat about it. It was only then, when I spent time reading the little take-away booklet from the exhibition, that it became clearer.

*Spoiler Alert*

In the booklet: “an exhibition experienced twice …
Neckpieces experienced once as wearable gilt forms. Experienced again as edible gilt beads revealing the true gold chain beneath. The pieces have not changed, they are as they always were. But the circumstances of perception have shifted. …
Objects once untouchable, displayed on gallery walls are now free to be consumed. Something on the body to become something of the body.

Oh, so the beads were edible-gold-covered chocolate on gold chain. So the beads have been eaten at some point. Which explains only the chains remaining.

This is a fantastic and genuinely intriguing shift in perception and a great idea for an installation/performance, and it’s understandable why this was not obvious in the media as the surprise is the whole point.

However, if I knew that the there was to be a one-off ‘reveal’ of kinds, I would have made every effort to make it to the opening night. Perhaps it would have been best as a one-night-only event? With a week-long exhibition, it has left those of us not seeing the original work (well, at the very least me and my friend) really very sad.

Claire McArdle’s ‘Gilty‘ was at No Vacancy Gallery from 22nd – 28th April 2013.

Update (2nd May): please do also see Claire McArdle’s blog post (posted yesterday), and it has so many incredible images of her work and Zoe Brand’s excellent essays; and I love how Melissa Cameron describes it. You cannot imagine how much I wish I could have been there for the opening night – it looks like so much fun. AND there’s a video!

RMIT graduates ‘It was like a Fever’ @ No Vacancy Gallery

3 12 2011

Continuing the fun that is the graduate show fiesta – this time the RMIT Gold & Silversmithing (Bachelor of Fine Arts, 3yrs) graduates and Honours in ‘It was like a Fever‘ at No Vacancy Gallery.

installation image

Participating artists are (in alphabetical order by surname):

  • Ruby Aitchison
  • Katie Jayne Britchford [blog]
  • Clementine Edwards
  • Allona Goren
  • Yasmin Hackett [blog]
  • Wendy Korol
  • Lin Lin
  • Claire McArdle (Honours) [see my post about her recent solo exhibition; site]
  • Joelle Peters
  • Khyran Randall-Demllo – really liked the pieces below

    Khyran Randall-Demllo

  • Sarah Wallace – her Miro pieces certainly channelled the artist (I picked up the influence before reading the titles)
  • Aurelia Yeomans [kit and caboodle profiles]


Check out my story on the 1st and 2nd year exhibition ‘Got a Nice Ring to it‘, to see some of their work from last year.

It was like a Fever‘ is at No Vacancy Gallery until 4th December 2011.

Update (12th December): Katie Jayne Britchford has some great images on her blog too!