The exhibition Inhabiting Space featured works from three contemporary jewellers, Rebecca Ward (Maleny, QLD), Clare Poppi (Marburg, QLD) and Helen Wyatt (Sydney, NSW) whose small precious works capture the imagination through their material and aesthetic choice. I curated the exhibition for the Glasshouse, Port Macquarie where it was on show from 13 October to 2 December 2018. https://www.glasshouse.org.au/Whats-On/Inhabiting-Space-Oct-2018
In 2010 I curated an exhibition for Redlands Gallery called Revisiting the Australian Landscape - interpreting the landscape on an intimate scale. The exhibition looked at how contemporary Queensland jewellers and metalsmiths were using the Australian landscape as the vehicle to express ideas of political and cultural location at a time of reassessment and reevaluation. It occurred to me after installing Inhabiting Space that there was a relationship between the ideas explored in the 2010 exhibition.
The wall text and my catalogue essay for Inhabiting Space are below.
The gallery wall text
This exhibition looks at how contemporary jewellers are thinking about the environment and how this is reflected in what they make. The works convey a narrative of nature and how it intersects with the built environment and humans. The exhibition asked what we hold as precious, and considers the relationships between these.
Inhabiting Space features works from three contemporary jewellers, Rebecca Ward (Maleny, QLD), Clare Poppi (Marburg, QLD) and Helen Wyatt (Sydney, NSW) whose small precious works capture the imagination through their material and aesthetic choice.
This is a curatorial collaboration project developed with Dr Elizabeth Shaw, from the Queensland College of Art, at Griffith University.
Helen is completing a Masters of Visual Arts by Research at Queensland College of Art. She is Sydney based but has spent recent years commuting between Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle – finding in these places ideas to explore through her work. She has had a long involvement in the visual arts but has more recently focused her practice on jewellery and small objects. Helen is also exhibiting and writing about contemporary jewellery and small objects.
Clare Poppi is an artist living and working in Brisbane, Australia. After achieving first class honours in her Fine Art degree she received an ArtStart grant from the Australia Council for the Arts and has continued to make art, establishing a studio space with three other jewellers from which to create her work. Her primary practice is in jewellery & metal-smithing, focusing on sustainable design and wearable art.
Rebecca Ward is a contemporary jeweller and artist based on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland where she lives off-grid on Stoney Edge Nature Refuge. Her work is ‘material focused’ and she uses a variety of natural materials and repurposed found objects to create and theme her jewellery. It is exhibited nationally, internationally and is housed in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. She also works collaboratively on large-scale public art sculpture projects with her artist partner, Russell Anderson. Rebecca is mother to two young girls, enjoys devising and delivering art workshops for adults and children and is also involved with the regeneration of koala habitat on her nature refuge property.
A contemporary jewellery exhibition curated by Dr Elizabeth Shaw
This is a pre Christmas exhibition with a difference. All of the works exhibited have been made from materials retreived from donated jewellery as a part of the Radical Jewellery Makeover.
The Radical Jewellery Makeover is an educational initiative of Ethical Metalsmiths and involves a call to the public to donate their unwanted jewellery. The donations are sorted and categorised to be deconstructed and become the raw materials to be reworked by a team of jewellers. The resulting works are heavily influenced by the donated materials, though the donors may no longer be able to recognise any elements of what they contributed. The jewellers get to work with materials they don't usually use and this proves an inspiration and challenge to develop new works that add value to the materials.
My contact with the Ethical Metalsmiths started in late 2006 when I emailed Christina Miller. I was in the process of making changes to the Jewellery Program at QCA and I was keen to talk to academics and researchers with shared interests. Christina was the first I found and we began conversing by email and mail. The conversations led to Christina and her collaborator Susie Ganch visiting QCA to host a Radical Jewellery Makeover in 2010. This was to be the first international RJM and the 4th in the ongoing series of the travelling community mining and recycling project that draws public attention to the creativity and skills of local jewellery designers, reveals the stories behind our personal collections and encourages re-consideration of our habits of consumption. I joined Susie and Christina to deliver an RJM in New Mexico in 2011. The 2016 Brisbane RJM is the second to be hosted in Australia and I have led it with the assistance of Clare Poppi a QCA Masters candidate.
The jewellers who are exhibiting RJM works in the current exhibition are: Alicia Lane, Alison Bruce, Catherine Large, Chloe Healy. Elizabeth Shaw, Juliana Platt, Katie Stormonth, Kierra-Jay Power, Lynda Shale, Melissa Stannard, Mia Wells, Nellie Peoples, Robyn Pell, Vivien Bedwell and Xiaohui Yang. Many more have been involved in the project. A big thank you to Lisa Brown from Faun Photography for documenting a lot of the jewellery made.
these are occasional posts about the things that are inspiring me, or that are happening around.