Come and see new work by Fiona Hermse, Tamsin leighton-Boyce, Mikaela Lyons, Katharina Moch, Katherine Richmond and Elena Ruebel. With guests Farrah Al Dujaili, Kathryn Partington and Fliss Quick. New show, New venue !
I am inspired by the uncertain and mysterious relationship we have with nature, in particular the simultaneous combination of fascination and fear often experienced. We attach inexplicable and fantastical meanings to natural creatures, some of these beliefs originated in folklore, myth and superstition. I reference these themes to allude to winged creatures and the symbolism we associate with them. I am especially interested in the uncanny suspension of life in the process of the temporarily deathlike and dormant state of insect metamorphosis.
I fabricate decorative and wearable pieces with an ethereal, strange and uncanny aesthetic. The visual use of shadow in the way I install and photograph my work adds a sense of drama and enhances the atmosphere I aim to achieve. I hope people find beauty in its carefully created ambivalence.
My work originates from feeling different in society. I remember when I was a teenager, my classmates and I tried so hard to make ourselves the same and follow a pack-mentality. We liked and disliked the same things and laughed at people who were different. Most of us did this to keep friends and not to be squeezed out of the group we wanted to belong to. It was an awkward age, we were all different individuals who tried so hard to act in the same way. This can be explained by an idea called the “black sheep effect”: when a trend comes into existence individuals follow it to have group identification, but when they express ideas of their own they might become excluded from the group. Those who do not follow the group become targets because they hold a different opinion from the collective. Should the individual stand by his or her own ideas or follow group recognition?
I create forms out of metal wires and cover the wire with polymer clay or felting wool. A monster appears that represents a person who has a different opinion than the group, but is distinct in a cute sort of way. The cute monster says “I am different, I am a monster, but I am lovely. Please do not walk away but be my friend.” I make groups of lovely monsters to encourage people to bravely be themselves.
Fragments Make the Whole
My current work is created from fragments of observation and perception of my environment. I record images during my daily journeys around the city streets of Oxford. Ornamentation and wealth is combined with alternative encounters in the city: graffiti, road kill, rubbish and road markings.
My jewellery consists of these images, which have been cut from old steel cans and fused together. In turn these whole pieces become fragments of new images, reminiscent of ornamental ironwork or Baroque art.
Utilising recycled materials is important to my work on a symbolic, environmental and aesthetic level. Discarded materials and images of overlooked objects are resurrected and given a new role within a piece of jewellery. By incorporating labour intensive techniques such as enamelling and using hand-made tools, I add symbolic value to both image and material.
I create surreal illustrations which are collages of macabre, romantic, fantastical images. I work intuitively, allowing pictures from my subconscious to become active. Often they are responses to my perception of modern culture. The illustrations are created by digitally manipulating my own photographs.
I convert these images into large one-off pieces of body adornment and smaller-scale jewellery. The main body of work is made using laser-cut acrylic and oxidised copper settings. An eclectic use of materials, images, colours and techniques are adopted for the pieces.
There is no pre-conceived meaning to the imagery I create. They are more a reaction to my environment. I use punchy, vibrant and often clashing colours and materials to create fashion-conscious, high-impact and theatrical body adornment.
I create flamboyant, sculptural and wearable pieces that combine ambivalent aspects of appeal and repulsion. Jewellery that attracts attention, pieces that catch the eye and demand self-confidence and conviction to wear, thus challenging the boundaries of what constitutes jewellery.
My work unsettles the borderline between beautiful and ugly in order to tease the perception of the beholder and to evoke reactions. I find it exciting and thrilling to trigger curiosity and challenge viewers to engage and discover, while simultaneously leaving space for individual interpretation. I believe that provoking this playful inquisitiveness is of value to us because it stimulates and originates distinct conditions, which in turn allow for experiences that we would not be exposed to otherwise.
The aesthetic qualities of my ambiguous jewellery are based on an organic form-vocabulary and the introduction of innovative materials and techniques, which I combine and contrast with my traditional goldsmithing skills. An open approach and material-based research, spontaneity and the dynamics that come from intuitive working processes enable me to develop a range of elements, which are then combined to create the compositions of my vibrant work.
Our world is in a constant state of flux; we are forced to establish tangible markers of change to help shape the construction of our memories and to do so we collect objects, such as letters, photographs, and souvenirs. We can control our possessions in a way that little else can be controlled, offering us a sense of stability in a world of change. For a true collector, the desire for perfection and control through the order of objects can be so strong that it develops into an obsession.
Walter Benjamin wrote of the book collector’s mysterious relationship to ownership and the ‘dialectical tension between the poles of disorder and order’. It is, he says, a passion that ‘borders on the chaos of memories’.
My work explores the fragile relationship between people and objects. I use books as a symbol of permanence and longevity to create wearable objects with a fragility that questions traditional notions of wear-ability. As an item worn close to the body, jewellery contains a strong emotional and physical relationship to the wearer and its small scale makes it the ideal collectible item. My work challenges values of permanence and stability by embracing the beauty of the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
I am interested in objects that have lost their purpose, which are fragments amputated of their function and become objects of aesthetic value. I enjoy the sense of questioning and mystery that surrounds them, the sense of slowness involved in figuring out what they might have been. The objects I create are in need of being defined. Concentrating on the initial contact a person has with them, I emphasise the tension in their passage from new to owned.
Once broken by their wearer, the rigid porcelain objects are allowed to unravel into fluid necklaces. Breaking becomes a physical confrontation, a firm recognition of the material reality of the objects, of their destiny and final shape.
The multiplicity contained in the transition from non-wearable to wearable object implies an irrevocable process of decision-making. The impossibility of having all options suggests incompleteness - committing to one solution means excluding all others forever…
This is not about versatility, it is not about surprise and nothing is hidden. Elements are presented to the eye, processes can be anticipated and finally the worn jewellery can be imagined reconstructed as the initial object. Usually broken objects are at the end of their life; in my work breaking is the beginning.
I am interested in the feminine ideal in relation to the female body. I enjoy creating work that expresses my wish to both conform and rebel against ideas of femininity. Through various materials and processes I take from my own body both physically and metaphorically. Hair can be used to comment on feminine allure and power, while clear resin is used to symbolize an abundance of tears.
Furthermore, I am interested in the way humans attempt to separate themselves from the primal world of animals with supposedly civilizing rules and regulations. I understand gender as part of the ‘cultured body’ and connect the tension between female and feminine with the struggle to exist as both an animal and a human.
I also create narrative photographs of my jewellery on my own body. The jewellery itself references my ideas of body and femininity as I am wearing it, and enhances the idea that femininity is a performance rather than an innate quality. Overall I enjoy deconstructing and reconstructing the feminine ideal to create wearable works of art alongside narrative photography.
In my understanding, the basis of social structure is the family and its internal relationships. Each generation nurtures the next, transmitting wisdom to build a community. The optimism and support of the family unit help to create the foundation of ordinary life. Living together means teaching each other to understand the effects of the passage of time. When we talk about home we find ourselves talking about our lives, our beliefs, our relationships, our mortality and who we are in the world.
“In the order of values, the old and new houses both constitute a community of memory and image. Thus the house is not experienced from day to day only, on the thread of a narrative, or in the telling of our own story”. John, R. Stilgoe, 1994: page 5
For many people their home provides the most meaningful and concentrated relationship with the aesthetic and symbolic. We each have our idealized image of home in our minds, which is created by a combination of memories, happy events, sentimental emotions and comfort. My jewellery considers narrative experience and aims to create an exchange of emotion between wearer and viewer; it allows them to travel into their own personal memories and explore their story of home and belonging.
My work is talks about “What money can’t buy?”. To do so I use pixelated images. I’m inspired by 8-bit TV game Super Mario. The graphics are low quality and simple but still popular very much around the world, even though digital graphics have greatly advanced. Moreover, I am interested in the contrast and combination of low pixel images and exquisite jewellery. Besides, the 8-bit images look to me like pixelated graffiti, I put the graffiti idea into my jewellery try to bring joy to the viewer. Behind the images, just like in graffiti, I would like to make the viewer feel the irony and the ideas, which have motivated my jewellery.
I use graffiti techniques, layering colour and images with resin to make wearable objects. The pieces are often self-referential with the image as the link or method of attachment: a drawing of sewing hands embroiders a brooch to a garment or an engraving of drawing hands draws a line around the neck to secure a brooch. Each object is a fragment of my body and its unusual placement on the body, draws the attention of the viewer. Drawn or engraved images on the matte surface of the resin give the impression of a tattoo.
The photographs I produce alongside the pieces inform my making practice, while being creative works in their own right. They are often sequences of images captured in flick books and illustrating fragments of time during the making process.
I documented my artistic practice on my apron, building up marks with drawing and embroidery. The resin pieces are a translation of this process into objects.
I see my work as occupying two planes: striking imagery of the body and striking imagery for the body.