Seedpod #4, #5
by Sonja Neven
Self- decoration, self- adornment, is consciousness. Jewellery is all about meaning, about applied symbolic value and content. Jewellers agree, when asked, that what they sell is not gold, or precious gems, or fashion, but it is in fact memories.
Jewellery, like a tattoo, is a key to a moment, a trigger for the mind, a tactile touchstone for the wearer, and the viewer.
What is jewellery? Is it clothing? Is it gold and diamonds? Is it mouse droppings in an acrylic tube? Is it gold leaf applied to a crack in the sidewalk, decorating the earth, the body that is Gaya? Or wearable art, in the context of performance? Jewellery is all of these and more.
Jewellery is the oldest human evidence of consciousness, 40,000 years old. Anthropologists now believe that jewellery as well as being evidence of consciousness may have actually been a cause of consciousness in humans. Raising consciousness is what this exhibition is all about.
"Format To Facet: Body Ornament West" is a wide ranging overview of the contemporary Western Canadian jewellery and wearable art scene. With over 40 Artists from ALberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 140 pieces it addresses a broad spectrum of practice, from international award winning fine jewellers precious gem work to radical and experimental body wear. This is the first such survey of designer jewellery and Art jewellery in Calgary in over 20 years. The works turn a searchlight onto the vigorous community of world class jewellers and jewellery artists in Western Canada, a reflection of the world of international art jewellery.
So, what is the notion of the wearable? Is jewellery or clothing wearable art? Craft? Both? The works in this exhibition are intended to incite discourse concerning body ornament and ideas/perceptions about what is or is not wearable, and issues of function and non- function.
The spectrum of work presented points to the roles and meanings of jewellery and the wearable object in our culture. A range of types of work fosters contrast and comparison for the viewer, and facilitates debate. This exhibition is an exploration of ornament: from the vernacular to conceptual art jewellery and wearable. The work encourages discussion of position.
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