Anna Davern ‘Impressa’ @ e.g.etal

19 05 2015

Quick sticks! Get along to e.g.etal before the end of this weekend to see Anna Davern‘s ‘Impressa‘.

Anna is an unashamed lover of all things kitsch, especially Australiana – and what’s not to love about that.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Using printed steel Anna has created brooches from images of Ned Kelly, Queen Elizabeth II (who she insists on naming Liz, much to my delight) and Queen Elizabeth I. All images have been cut into strips or squares, and those elements are then rearranged.

…Sometimes the strips are attached separated, sometimes the altered image is printed as a single image on the metal.

…Sometimes the photographic/steel layer is fastened to the blackened brooch back by delicate folded prongs, sometimes by rivets (I love rivets; I may have mentioned that before).

…Sometimes the rivets are blackened, sometimes they’re gold *swoon*.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

exhibition media; click on image for original source

The oval and round brooches mimic miniature paintings … which were once a personal and highly precious keepsake portrait of a loved one. Does that mean we are to love these people? Even though they’re so distorted?

…Or is this commenting on the fact that if we think we love and adore someone so far from our real life, then we simply must be worshiping an inevitably distorted image of them?

…Then again, perhaps Anna is just experimenting, enjoying the process and having fun.

…They look like the pictures on those funny little screen toys we used to have as kids (in the, ahem, 70s) on which the picture looks different from one angle than the other (I cannot remember what they were called); and the same optical device was recently used for a Tram advert about inspectors (Melbourne reference; one must be pleased with that).

I wondered about why these particular three people were chosen. Ned and Elizabeth II I can understand from the perspective of the sculpting of the Australian identity; Elizabeth I is not quite the same.. so I’m curious …perhaps because of her direct connection to Liz? Perhaps I’m being daft and missing an obvious connection … you will tell me won’t you, if I am?

Make sure you visit the e.g.etal page for the exhibition for more detailed photographs of some of the pieces. Especially ‘Liz Slice 3‘; look at the back of it, look at the back of it!

Exhibition media (too good not to reproduce here whole):
Davern’s work features pictures of people from Australian political and social life as a means to dissect clichéd images of Australian identity.Using images found on old biscuit tins or historical photos printed on to metal, Davern slices, rearranges and reconstructs these pictures to create works that trick the eye with their disconcerting familiarity.

By reworking these cult-like symbols their power over us becomes fluid and slippery. As objects of adornment seen through the lens of the Impressa, they offer a reflection on our cultural roots, which lie in the colonisation of Australia by the British.

Unafraid to move freely between lo-fi kitsch and the precious object, Anna continues to develop a visual language with the power to question our loyalties to conservatism. Her humorous renditions of cultural identification allay our fears of deeper, more critical discussions about political and social life, and to this end the brooches laugh at romantic notions of allegiance and turn them upside down.

Anna Davern ‘Impressa‘ is at e.g.etal until 23rd May 2015.

ps. I had a look for the exhibition title in the dictionary and found a very similar word ‘impresa’ which means a device, or motto or emblem … what a great connection.

Update (less than an hour after initial publication) with a psquillion thanks to Anna, I have attached the accompanying essay written by Ramona Barry of HandMadeLife fame … Impressa_RamonaBarry_Essay. I will give this my undivided attention forthwith

See also:





Katherine Bowman ‘My Assemblages’ @ Milly Sleeping

6 05 2015

Katherine Bowman is showing a small collection of works ‘My Assemblages‘ at Milly Sleeping (a lovely little boutique in Carlton).

It’s a gorgeous group.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

The above photograph doesn’t do it justice at all. The colours are wonderful, the display is beautifully balanced, and there’s a sense of delight that’s palpable.

I was especially taken with the pendant second-from-the-left … I even tried it on … I’m still thinking about taking it home. If you’re like me and regularly read Katherine’s blog, you’ll also have seen some images of these as I did; even so, when I saw them in person their scale surprised and pleased me.

I also tried on the rings, and they’re completely amazing (especially Ring #3).

Make sure you check out Katherine’s blog for much more beautiful photographs of these works, as well as the accompanying watercolours.

This is a perfectly compact and coherent collection, and offering this kind of showing space to a maker is pretty special. Most importantly because of the small-ish scale : my feeling is that it may permit a little more adventure, perhaps it would encourage a maker to take a little more risk to follow a new line of enquiry when the group is relatively intimate.

As a maker (though relapsed?!) I’d find this kind of presentation forum and scale much more approachable and achievable, as opposed to a blockbuster solo show (well at least that’s how I’d imagine it). And the fewer objects there are, the more each one can be seen in better focus and appreciated for its uniqueness.

Go along; be inspired.

Katherine Bowman’s ‘My Assemblages‘ is at Milly Sleeping until 24th May 2015.

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See also:

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Melissa Cameron ‘Object Evolution’ @ Bini Gallery

24 04 2015

What a few days I’ve had of jewellery viewing and gallery visiting – it’s been quite lovely and a timely reminder of how enjoyable I find it.

Melissa Cameron, once Melbourne-based and now in Seattle, is showing a mini-retrospective (if I may!) at Bini Gallery: ‘Object Evolution: Jewellery from objects 2009-2015‘.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The rebirthed jewels on show in her upcoming solo exhibition at Bini Gallery span the last six years of her artistic output. Included in the display will be the original half-cigarette-tin pair of brooches that launched her investigation, alongside new pieces finished this year. This is the first time that Melissa has had a solo show of just her object works, which begs the question, what has taken so long? “These pieces come out of my studio kind of sporadically, they are often made for specific exhibitions, so it’s only recently that I have managed to get a bunch of them back together to put a good-sized group of them on display.” Melissa adds, “It seemed like a good opportunity to bring them home while I still had all of them together.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

It’s funny, just last week I published a ‘Other April’ post that included a link to my post of Melissa’s first exhibition (well, her Honours exhibition at Monash), with the image of my favourite piece from that show. Well, it’s been altered from an object to a neckpiece (above) and is in this show.

Still a favourite of mine. And how beautiful are the shadows it casts…

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

It was interesting speaking with the gallery owner, who mentioned her initial attraction to Melissa’s work was to the geometry … she mentioned she was a maths teacher, so we had a little mathematician bonding moment, bless.

Absolutely worth a visit!

Object Evolution: Jewellery from objects 2009-2015‘ is at Bini Gallery (Collingwood) until 30th April 2015.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission





Maureen Faye-Chauhan ‘Concurrence‘ @ Gallery Funaki

23 04 2015

Maureen Faye-Chauhan is showing her first solo exhibition at Gallery Funaki, ‘Concurrence‘.

I popped into the gallery on the crest of a ‘busy wave’ (five browsing customers); it created an interesting environment in which to consider such a quiet collection. If I’m honest, I’d say it was a little challenging (but I’m just one of those people who likes quiet spaces better; I’d never be a good shop owner!).

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The complex pierced surfaces of Maureen’s jewellery allow light to play a vital role. As pieces move with the body, their steel surfaces ripple and change; interior volumes become apparent and then invisible as the viewer’s attentions shifts between the surfaces and the negative spaces within.

The photographs don’t do the work justice; the varying colours of the heat-treated mild steel are beautifully subtle. And of course you need to walk past and around them to see how the light and shadow plays.

The Gallery Funaki website has detailed photographs of the pieces – and you can see just how considered, precise and refined they are. There’s a sense of lightness, strength and delicacy.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I especially like the shell pieces. And the three pendants (in the middle of the above image) remind me of the building in London known as ‘The Gherkin’ … in the good way of definite design and clean lines.

That said, my favourites were the gold rings … if I hadn’t already heavily invested in jewellery recently, I may be more seriously considering taking one home.

Concurrence‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 2nd May 2015.

Other reading: AJF (Art Jewelry Forum) have just recently published an interview with Maureen about this exhibition that’s absolutely worth reading, for her eloquence as well as the content. I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment when I read about her interest in the moiré effect in Op Art.

[As per my usual approach, I didn’t read it until after I’d had time to distill my own thoughts (above) first.]

I like how she’s phrased this: “hasty unconsidered shortcuts most often create more work” … it’s a more elegant manner of my regular statement that ‘the short cut is often the long way around’.





Laura Potter ‘Craft Samples’ @ Personal Space Project

21 04 2015

Once again I’m totally enamored with an exhibition in Zoe Brand’s ‘Personal Space Project’ : Laura Potter‘s ‘Craft Samples‘.

This collection is titled ‘Redacted Brooches‘.

exhibition media; image used with explicit permission

exhibition media; image used with explicit permission

Without being able to see these in person, I can only get a feel for them via Zoe’s images. But what’s not to love about this group I ask you? The muted colours of the denuded transfer-printed fabric, the little ephemeral wisps of brightly-coloured embroidery thread saved into little plastic bags … like the outcome from an archeological dig or scientific investigation.

Exhibition media: “I had no idea so much of the handicraft I saw as a child came in kit-form, allowing impressive household items to be fashioned by women who had very little skill or feel for materials. My mother subscribed to a monthly magazine full of projects to sew, weave, cast and carve. It was like a craft recipe book with a list of materials and tools, step-by-step instructions, tutorial images and patterns to cut out and use. It was craft-by-numbers. I thought what my [relatives were] doing was accomplished and difficult. I am now not so sure that it was.

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

I admit to getting a bit lost in revery about this collection.

I wondered if Laura’s quasi-destruction of these pieces is an expression of her disappointment that these aren’t the unique and special objects she was led to believe. She is excavating the evidence that they’re not personally designed nor very special at all.

Perhaps she wants revenge for being tricked by exposing them for what they are? Though I dare say that if there was genuine anger then these handcrafted brooches (in their original frames) wouldn’t be so carefully disassembled for us to see their components.

At times I can see a kind of sadness here too … a quiet sorrow for things not being as once thought.

This is a such a brilliant meditation on the subject…

exhibition media

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

I completely love the display – the large group makes the investigation seem compulsive and perhaps even unfinished, both sentiments I can relate to.

As a child I did a lot of similar ’embroider by numbers’ – textile kits, with pre-printed and cut and finished fabric, and all the thread you need. I have a soft nostalgia for these objects, maybe a kinder recollection. Interestingly, I don’t ever remember seeing embroidered brooches like these, and perhaps that’s explained by Laura being a UK native – maybe these just weren’t done in Australia, but more a British object.

Be sure to read Zoe’s text about the work for her perspective too – I like reading how others’ see things; and also for more images.

Laura Potter ‘Craft Samples‘ is online at Personal Space Project (personal visits by appointment) until 30th April 2015.





‘Fresh! 2015′ @ Craft

20 04 2015

Finally I’ve made it to Craft to see an exhibition; though I’m still sad I didn’t manage to see the previous show ‘White Goods‘ (boo).

So it’s Fresh! time again.

exhibition

exhibition

I’m still getting my thoughts in some kind of order … but in reading the works list I noticed that all but two artists are RMIT graduates [there are ten artists; whereas previous years had 12]. I hope that doesn’t mean the Melbourne graduate craft scene is becoming RMIT-centric. Where are the other universities’ students? Are the courses just not there any more? Are the courses not of an equivalent standard (that’s a terrible question, but you can understand why it’s asked)? Are the selections simply reflections of this year’s judges preferences? Lots of questions.

exhibition

exhibition

Selected/awarded artists are:

  • Emma Blackmore (RMIT) – fashion (textile)
  • Katie Collins (RMIT; website) – gold & silversmithing
  • Leana Kim (RMIT; website) – ceramics
  • Christopher Massey (RMIT) – gold & silversmithing
  • Henry Madin (RMIT) – wood sculpture / furniture
  • Scarlett Mellows (RMIT; website) – print image practice
  • Jess Milne (VCA) – ceramic / furniture
  • Thomas O’Hara (RMIT) – gold & silversmithing
  • Tricia Page (RMIT; website) – trampoline!
  • Kate Sylvester (VCA; website) – painting (textile)

For me the most outstanding are the jewellery pieces by Katie Collins (below).

exhibition

exhibition

Mmmm … what did you think when you visited?

Fresh! 2015‘ is at Craft until 24th May 2015.

Other posts:

  • Fresh! 2014‘ (May14)
  • 2013 : this year the exhibition wasn’t at the end of the year but transferred to early in the new year; the year-naming changed over at this point
  • 2012 : oh, I must have missed this exhibition
  • Fresh! 2011‘ (Dec11)
  • Fresh! 2010‘ (Dec10)
  • Fresh! 2009‘ (Dec09)





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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