Solo show: G-Space (NMIT) in Nelson & at Objectspace in Auckland February 2013.
Bliss is an exploration of apathy and ignorance. Taking as a starting point the maxim “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, this work investigates our society’s unwillingness to engage with our political environment. It seems easier to ignore, deny and forget, rather than risk personal harm or hardship. Apathy and ignorance are easy to develop; we don’t need to do anything. We can stop listening, not see, remain quiet, and allow ourselves to be turned off and tuned out. By disengagement we give tacit approval to the status quo. To accept injustice or inadequacy we have to recognise it and act against it, – a much more demanding task. Avoidance and comfort shape our external and internal worlds, our personal relationships and identities.
As with this artist’s previous work, Bliss prescribes to a broader sense of what contemporary jewellery can be by stretching the possibilities of what the jewellery object is. The jewellery does not fit into the traditional and recognised categories of necklace, bracelet, brooch or earring. But the objects do qualify as jewellery as they refer to and are dependent on the body – i.e. they are wearable and defined by body parts ear, mouth and eye. The jewellery objects extend Stella’s exploration of function. By playing with this concept, these wearable jewellery objects with their deliberate non-functionalism create an interesting, possibly perplexing, conversation.
Each monkey is paired with a jewellery object. The monkey with his hands clasped over his ears has a non-functional hearing aid. The monkey who won’t speak has a dummy that both prevents speech and also acts as a pacifier. The monkey who keeps his eyes well covered has a monocle with an opaque lens that blocks both sight and hindsight.
The materials components of Bliss create juxtapositions concerning value. Within the jewellery objects, the use of predominately ‘traditional’ materials (e.g. silver) is juxtaposed with home maintenance materials (e.g. plaster). The various elements of Bliss move between the ‘skilled’ craft of jewellery making and the handcrafting of soft toys, which is drawn from the artist’s childhood experiences as a home-sewer. The large monkeys dominate the floor space. To notice the smaller objects, the large monkeys need to be ignored or looked over. Ironically they are ignoring the viewer and society, in general, with their hands firmly clasped over eyes, ears or mouth. The large monkeys are sedentary but could be seen as threatening, hilarious or inconsequential depending on the viewer’s interpretation.
This latest body of work expands themes of loss, unease, awareness and expectation that have run through the jeweller’s earlier exhibitions, and extends these from the psychological into the political sphere. Bliss is an attempt to make political work without cliché. While the thesis of this work starts with the saying “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, the work then transports this maxim to a more layered and complex exploration. While the combination of elegant objects with the ‘home-made’ aesthetic of the soft toys may give an impression of ironic positioning, the more serious concerns of apathy and ignorance underpin Bliss.
Here’s a series of work I made for a show at a small local gallery, Design Room. I enjoyed playing around with form and perspective with these.
I photographed buildings, architectural structures near where I live. Then choose a selection to make into brooches.
By flatting out the 3D into 2D and using the high contrast of black and white the brooches are a playful exploration of structural planes.
The Dyad series was made for the Otro Diseno stand at Sieraad exhibition in Amsterdam in 2006.
The rings and brooch sets of 2 are all interconnecting. They range from austere brooches to some playful rings. Enjoyable to make, but plenty of accuracy required!