Women in Art: Wearable Art

By Lauren Treiser Hi again! Jewellery is a passion of mine and there are some pretty amazing jewellery exhibitions on this month which are sure to both surprise and delight you! Firstly, there is the dream like work by Kate Rohde at Pieces of Eight Gallery as well as a very large show on at NGV featuring jewellers from around the world.

Hybrid Geology 

Image from Pieces of Eight Gallery

Pieces of Eight Gallery presents a new exhibition of Kate Rohde's resin jewellery in an installation that reminds me of a psychedelic space. Her sculpture practice, that focuses on elements of the natural world, has been applied to her jewellery.

Rohde’s collection of flowers and crystals grow out of the structure of the building itself. The steel in the gallery shop front allowed Rohde to utilise magnets to present her pieces.

The glass frontage of the gallery has been turned into a fantasy world with stalactites, stalagmites and crystals on the bottom half, and long fluoro coloured wigs hang from the top half.

The trippy colours and nature of the work make the pieces seem like they are from another planet. It is easy to forget that much of the installation is wearable and consists of rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces (all for sale!).

Kate Rohde is a visual artist who completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2001. Since then she has held several solo exhibitions and has been part of numerous group shows. Her work is included in a number of public collections such as the National Gallery of Victoria, Bendigo Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Don’t miss viewing a short film on Kate Rohde about the making of this exhibition.

Pieces of Eight Gallery 28 Russell Place, Melbourne 11 April 2012 - May 19 2012 Free entry

Unexpected Pleasures

A truly special and extensive exhibition, “Unexpected Pleasures” is showing at the National Gallery of Victoria. It has been guest curated by Susan Cohn for the Design Museum, London. Cohn who is described not just as a jeweller but as a craftsperson, artist and designer is a famous Melbournian who has created pieces for Alessi. A lot of her work involves transforming commonplace materials into valued jewellery objects, through the injection of meaning.

Left: Doug Bucci Trans-Hematopoietic neckpiece (2010) 3-D printed acrylic resin as one interlinked piece

Right: Peter Chang Bracelet (2007/08) Resin, acrilyc, silver

For this exhibition, she stated that even though there are extreme pieces, everything can be worn. Walking amongst the glass cases I found it challenging to picture some of the pieces in action. But I love the fact that it will challenge people’s preconceived notions of what jewellery is. A good example of this is Camilla Prasch’s ring made from Silicon discs. A lot of the pieces highlight the shifting values from material worth to the personal associations that jewellery holds.

Camilla Prasch MEGA (2009) Red dyed snap fasteners, nylon thread, silicone discs Image from NGV

The exhibition is curated into 3 sections: Worn Out – celebrates the experience of wearing jewellery;| Linking Links – looks at the ways in which meaning and narratives are given to the pieces; and A Fine Line – offers insight into the origins of contemporary jewellery.

Jewellery is used to say who we are and where we belong. In "Unexpected Pleasures" there is a broad spectrum of techniques shown from newer technologies such as rapid prototyping to using found materials such as the Nespresso capsules which form Beverley Price’s necklace.

Beverley Price Nespresso Collier (2012) Anodised aluminium, plastic coated wire, fine gold

Another example of a jeweller who has pushed conceptual boundaries is Monica Brugger where she questions what jewellery is in her garments which ‘suggest’ a brooch through burnt edges, bleach and red thread rather than having a physical brooch adorning the garments.

Monica Brugger Rouge / Brandal / Soleil (2001) Fabric, silver.

This show pushes the boundaries of jewellery and may even extend Melbournians practice of wearing thought-provoking objects. I hope so!
Check out the great video about the exhibition.
Unexpected Pleasures 20 April 2012 - 26 August 2012 NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road Free entry
Lauren is graphic designer and founder of patchyrugs.com.au. She loves all things design (see her blog at blog.ilovelollies.net) and is particularly passionate about fine art, interior design and jewellery. Lauren is currently studying Gold & Silversmithing and doing graphic design on a freelance basis.