The Dr. is In – Damian Skinner @ SNAG Seattle
Dr. Damian Skinner (editor Art Jewelry Forum blog, writer, curator) headed off the afternoon of SNAG Seattle Day 2, following the captivating talks by Glenn Adamson and Lola Brooks quite well with his “All the World Over: Ambitions of Contemporary Jewelry“. You may recognize him from The Pocket Guide to New Zealand Jewelryexhibition and catalog that had it’s US debut in 2010, or his various articles on artjewelryforum.org. In this presentation he quotes largely from Peter Dormer and Ralph Turner (writers of The New Jewelry: Trends and Traditions) on locality vs. universality of contemporary jewelry.
This image says it all, I love how crude but effective it is. Basically, jewelry from Europe is regarded as the International standard for Contemporary Jewelry, whereas American jewelry is not held in such high esteem and is by the rest of the world only referred to by locality as “American Contemporary Jewelry”. How do we feel about this? “Liberation occurs when you destroy the hierarchy”, Skinner remarks.
In the “New Jewelry Movement” (in which we find ourselves now) there is an ongoing critique of preciousness that allows for a deeper engagement with society. As with Australian jeweler, Roseanne Bartley, her “surface archeology” work repurposing found items, such as in her “Human Necklace” (photo, left), where people became the structure of jewelry shapes in public places. The notion of a jewelry piece solely existing for a small blip of time, only to live on in the photographic form, recurs often over the course of this conference.
Her “Seeding the Cloud” acts of walking about town, tools in hand, making jewelry from discarded materials she finds along the way, “demonstrates the potential of jewellery to counterbalance the increasing physical isolation of contemporary life in info-hubs” (craftUnbound.net). She is endearingly coined a “neighborly ornament”. This leading into my favorite quote by Damian, one that I truly believe and would like to see more of:
“The Greatest Art is created when there is no boundary between art and community.”