‘Unclasped’ @ Hellenic Museum, preview

4 02 2016

Just a few photographs from the Unclasped‘ opening at Hellenic Museum … how wonderful!

photograph taken with prior permission

photograph taken with prior permission

I will write more when I have a chance to inspect the lovely jewellery closer, and think a little more about it.

photograph taken with prior permission

photograph taken with prior permission

I plan to visit again next Friday for Robert Baines lecture.

photograph taken with prior permission

photograph taken with prior permission

Unclasped: Discovering Contemporary Greek Jewellery‘ is at Hellenic Museum until 3rd April 2016.





Upcoming: ‘Unclasped’ @ Hellenic Museum

23 01 2016

It’s not usual for me to write a special post to talk about an upcoming exhibition … but I like to do this for friends from my RMIT days.

Dr Nicole Polentas … yes, she’s a Doctor now! … is curating an exhibition that will shortly open at Hellenic Museum in Melbourne.

Unclasped: Discovering Contemporary Greek Jewellery‘ is “an exhibition of contemporary jewellery objects, bringing together and examining the practices of twenty-two artists of Greek descent currently working in Greece, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Cyprus and Australia.

The exhibition aims to provide a platform for contemporary thought in order to highlight the work of both established and emerging international Greek artists.

Exploring the connections between the manufacture and the act of wearing jewellery, the works encompass a wide variety of contemporary jewellery making techniques and mediums; expressing the diverse nature of modern jewellery practice within the Hellenic diaspora.

Exhibiting Jewellers: Aggelika Diplari, Akis Goumas, Anastasia Kandaraki, Artemis Valsamaki, Christina Karakalpaki, Constantinos Kyriacou, Danae Natsis, Demitra Thomloudis, Dimitris Nikolaidis, Efharis Alepedis, Erato Kouloubi, George Giannoutsos, Ismini Pachi, Liana Pattihis, Mala Siamptani, Maria Tsimpiskaki, Nicole Polentas, Niki Stylianou, Poly Nikolopoulou, Vicky Kanellopoulos, Vivi Touloumidi and Zeta Tsermou

[text from Hellenic Museum site]

The exhibition will run from 6th February to 3rd April 2016, and there are many associated events such as artist floor talks.

Check out Nicole’s facebook page for progress shots of the amazing exhibition space (designed by Christopher Earl Milbourne) and events.

exhibition media

exhibition media

exhibition media

exhibition media

Get along … I expect to see you there!

Please also see:





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.





2015 Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award @ Castlemaine Art Gallery

7 10 2015

It was the most stunning Spring day when I took a drive into the countryside to Castlemaine, to see the latest episode of the important Buda prize: the ‘2015 Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award‘ at the Castlemaine Art Gallery.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Awards (see gallery page for beautiful photographs):

  • (professional) The Leviny Commemorative award: Daehoon Kang … this is an amazing vessel, with the most stunning counter-balancing design and gorgeous surface treatment
  • (professional) Arts Centre Melbourne Silver award: Janine Tanzer … the shape and decorative elements harking back to the height of the roaring 20s
  • (professional) The Australian Decorative and Fine Art Societies Emerging artist award: Maureen Faye-Chauhan … strongly geometric pieces (as per her recent exhibition)
  • (professional) The Australian Decorative and fine Art Society of Yarra Anniversary award: Joungmee Do … the most exceptional, outrageous, jubilant object (below image)
  • (student / recent graduates) e.g.etal Design & Development award: Yu Fang Chi … incredibly delicate, almost like fairy-floss
  • (student / recent graduates) A & E Metals award: Larah Nott … her smithing pieces won her this award, though I especially liked the precision of her neckpiece
  • (student / recent graduates) Gold & Silversmithing Guild of Australia award: Kimba Pham … proving that scale isn’t necessary to show exceptional design and handskills
Joungmee Do's piece ; photograph with gallery permission

Joungmee Do’s piece ; photograph with gallery permission

This gallery is a much more deserving place for this exhibition … the previous venue in Bendigo wasn’t quite right (though should have received many visitors), and Buda (though a lovely home) was almost not quite grand enough. It’s pleasing for these objects to be positioned in an art gallery, in a room adjacent to a colonial collection. Perhaps it’s the traditionalist in me, but I think this space elevates the pieces, and hopefully it does this for visitors (particularly those who’ve not come to the gallery especially to see this exhibition).

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Of course I particularly like to see the larger scale smithing objects in this exhibition – for me the first vitrine was wonderful (first image above). There are not as many shows for this oeuvre as there is for jewellery, so it’s a joy to see them playing with each other. Most especially I was pleased to see less highly polished surfaces this year, and perhaps more diversity of materials.

2015 Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award‘ is at Castlemaine Art Gallery until 18th October 2015.

See also:

Check out the article in The Age too :  ‘Craft review: Contemporary Australian silver and metalwork dazzles‘ … the author makes an interesting point about six of the seven award winners being women.

More photographs below (not published above to save load times):

Read the rest of this entry »





‘Go, said the bird’ @ fortyfive downstairs

13 09 2015

Exhibition-visiting Saturday continued with a visit to fortyfive downstairs for two exhibitions. The first is ‘Go, said the bird‘.

Participating artists: Marcos Guzman, Courtney Jackson [instagram], Inari Kiuru [site], Shaun Tan [website].

photograph taken with artist permission

photograph taken with artist permission

Exhibition media:
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”
T. S. Eliot, 1935
An extract from Burnt Norton (Quartet One), Four Quartets

Go, said the bird borrows its title from a poem by T.S. Eliot. The exhibition presents the work of four artists who examine the ambiguous nature of time through images, objects and jewellery.

photograph with artist permission

photograph with artist permission

As expected, I was completely enamored with Inari’s work … in fact, this was a grouping of objects, jewellery, and photographs from the last eight years. Her large objects are stunning; her fine-line work is precise and almost afraid; the moth pieces are my favourites … but new favourites are the black brooches ‘Clay and rock turning into steel‘ (2015).

photograph with artist permission

photograph with artist permission

Shaun’s large-scale paintings and Marcos’s playful jewellery provide colourful counterpoints to Inari and Courtney’s pieces; Inari’s are dark and broody; Courtney’s intricate, delicate, and fragile.

[There were quite a few visitors at the time I was there, so it wasn’t easy to get photographs of all the work; I’m not keen on publishing images with people in them … in case they should be somewhere else. Worse still though, my little camera phone was being temperamental with light, so many turned out overexposed and blurred. A random-though-related thought: I wonder if perhaps Courtney’s work could have benefited from a coloured background, even if only slightly tinted, to help it stand out (I’m no expert curator mind! just an idea)?]

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Check out the exhibition facebook page for more photographs.

Sorry, I was only able to visit this on its last day … ‘Go, said the bird‘ was part of Radiant Pavilion and was at fortyfive downstairs until 12th September 2015.





Anna Davern ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South’ @ e.g.etal

12 09 2015

What a delight! A completely enjoyable and engaging delight.

Anna Davern has outdone her amazing self in her latest exhibition, ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South‘ at e.g.etal.

I’m sure regular readers have probably already visited, or witnessed the development of the work and the exhibition on various social media platforms …

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

I was just a little bummed that I couldn’t work the mechanisms myself (the gallery staff do that), but I can totally understand why that’s the case.

It’s entirely possible I squealed with delight … just a little bit. I remember someone writing somewhere (perhaps on Instagram?) that it was fantastic that ‘kittens are our evil overlords’ (that’s what my mind has put together anyway)… Elizabethan overlords at that! The ‘covert operators’, pretending to be evil kittens, were the funniest.

Almost all pieces were objects, with some sporting detachable jewellery pieces such as earrings and brooches.

What a feat. What an imagination.

Anna Davern ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South‘ is part of Radiant Pavilion has been extended at e.g.etal until 19th September 2015.

See also:





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: