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2014 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Ebendorf

Robert EbendorfFor the past twenty-five years, Robert Ebendorf has been re-purposing existing materials by devising ingenious uses for the discarded and discovering ways to make the used into the new. Known for jewelry that includes everything from buttons to crab claws, he continues in his investigations into “representations.”

Ebendorf’s conceptual approach to jewelry questions the nature of adornment itself and explores alternative materials and ideas about the preciousness of jewelry. The creativity of his jewelry lies not only in the intellectual repositioning of familiar objects, but more in the physical transformations of materials that astonish the viewer. It is exactly this sense of astonishment that gives his pieces their value. The profound incongruity between what his pieces are made from, and what they become in his hands, engages the imagination.

Ebendorf’s objects are not simply about refashioning the mundane, they elevate the value of what might otherwise be thrown away or overlooked. By reassessing the meaning of the artifacts of daily life, his pieces often reverse the idea of what is precious. If the purpose of art is to locate and reaffirm values in our world, then this work is a most relevant mode of contemporary expression.

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