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People Don’t Care About Ideas, They Just Like Cool Objects

138 Bayard Street, between Graham and Manhattan, 646-258-3792
July 9 - July 31, 2005
Reception: Saturday, July 9, 7 - 10 PM
Web Site

Featuring: Mary Pearse Andrew J. Phares Shella Robinson Amelia Toelke Melissa Tolar Sakurako Shimizu Andreas Zidek

Curated by Sakurako Shimizu.

Is jewelry an art form? ‘Jewelry’ is no doubt a confusing term. Simple words like ‘ornament’, ‘design’ and ‘craft’ all seem to fail in describing this highly hybrid discipline. Traditionally a symbol of status, social identity and embodiment of monetary value, jewelry has also served commemorative and amuletic functions.

For the seven artists in this exhibition, material/formal/technical experiments are not the main focus of their work. Andreas Zidek’s and Amelia Toelke’s works explore the possible social function of jewelry as a communicative object initiating dialog between the viewer and the wearer. Casts by Mary Pearse comment on jewelry as a conveyer of personal memories. Andrew Phares and uses jewelry to critique American culture and deconstruct our collective unconscious, while Shella Robinson focuses on the teenage rituals that mark a rite of passage or show an affiliation to a group/identity. Conceptual analysis of the medium itself seems to be the subject of Melissa Tolar’s work, which juxtaposes precious and cheap/mass produced materials. Rings by Sakurako Shimizu use a very traditional form in order to link various living entities with metal conceptually through their common property of weight.

These works expose common threads currently fermenting in the field of art jewelry, placing it surprisingly close to general fine-art practice. Or perhaps they simply signal the obsolescence of traditional boundaries between artistic genera and a need for more unified vocabulary.
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