I have realised that I ought to write when I visit a gallery.
Partly to force myself to take the time to reflect on what I have seen, to have a diary of particular pieces to reflect on and hopefully anyone who reads this might also want to go and check some of this stuff out! That said, I feel a bit pretentious, hence the title taken from Miriam Elia's fantastic tongue-in-cheek updates to the classic Peter and Jane Ladybird Books. (Now called Susan and John from Dung Beetle Books for... reasons.)
I've always preferred scarabs to ladybirds anyway...
20:20 Visions : Celebrating 20 Years of the ACJ opened today at the Goldsmiths Centre.
ACJ stands for Association for Contemporary Jewellers. They are keen to emphasis the 'for' rather than 'of' as it is the intention of the Association to be inclusive and varied with members including makers, designers, educators, students, galleries, museum curators, retailers and collectors. Their purpose is to promote greater understanding of contemporary jewellery, support jewellers' creative and professional development and develop audiences for this field through exhibitions and talks.
This exhibition has been launched to celebrate 20 years since the founding of the ACJ and is made up of two parts. 20:20 takes two works from prominent members and displays them alongside each other. One piece was created around 1997 and the other close to the present day. Visions displays the work of 31 of the nearly 500 current members. All of the pieces are wearable jewellery but other than that they vary hugely in scale, material, use of technology and method of construction.
The curator, Terry Hunt, is the ACJ chain and continues his own practice experimenting with surface pattern and colour in titanium and anodised aluminium.
Brooches from the Artery Series 2002 (left) and 2010
Materials: (left) silver, red beads (right) silver, pearls, pigment
Techniques: wire drawing, tube making, filing, soldering, wire drawing, sewing, painting.
I chose this pair of brooches because I tend to enjoy the blending of science and art, subjects which are so often placed on pedestals apart - or perhaps it is the lack of scientific knowledge that causes pieces that resemble medicals instruments to instil in me awe and wonder. The craftsmanship, to my limited knowledge, seems to have been finished to an impeccable standard and so the conceptual element does not jar with the physical quality of the pieces. Hogg seems to convey meaning economically with gestures like the pinch in the rim of the second brooch evoking the breech of a cell wall with a needle. The colour palette is just as minimal but powerful.
Materials: sterling silver, gold plating
Techniques: casting, fabricating
This piece interested me because, at this stage in my learning about jewellery manufacture, it feels like a magic trick in that I cannot see how it is done. I also like tessellation. The tessellating forms again suggest a machine/organic hybrid so it could be presented in a way that makes it quite uncanny. I like that the artist has chosen to to gold plate the inside of the tube which means that when the piece is laid straight it appears to be silver and requires manipulation to reveal the gold core.
Louise Seijen ten Hoorn
Materials: silver, steel
Techniques: carved, cast, constructed
This piece is probably my favourite. To me it works equally as a sculpture or worn as jewellery. When laid flat the circular band gives the figure an endless, mythical quality like Sisyphus at his endless task. The not-quite-human figure also has a dream-like quality like a character from Jorge Luis Borges or Hieronymous Boch.
Other awesome pieces...
Spirit brooch & ring 2014
Techniques: 3D Printed
Chain Dentata 2011
Materials: 24ct gold vermeil on fine and sterling silver, garnets, porcelain crowns
Techniques: Fabrication, wire-work, press-forming, stone setting, hand engraving