An exhibition held at SOFA Chicago in November 2012, featuring work from the 2012 Metalsmith magazine Exhibition in Print, “Contemporary Gothic Jewelry” curated by Valerie Steele. The exhibition then moved to The Metal Museum in Memphis, TN.
“Gothic” is an epithet with a strange history; evoking images of death, destruction and decay. From its origins in the 18th-century literature of terror to its contemporary manifestations in art, cinema and design, the gothic is associated with the powers of horror and the erotic macabre.
But contemporary gothic jewelry involves far more than just skull rings. It draws on the imagery of medieval body armor, ecclesiastical design, the Victorian cult of mourning, taxidermy, body parts (especially blood, bone, and skin), and the femme fatale, as well as ideas about decadence, memory, and fear. The 2012 Exhibition in Print explored all aspects of contemporary gothic jewelry.
“Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals” was the 2011 edition of the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize series, which recognizes excellence in the field of contemporary craft. It featured the work of 33 internationally recognized and emerging artists, and highlighted outstanding examples of contemporary works in small metals and jewelry. As with the previous shows, this exhibition continued the theme of “Transformation,” an appropriate focus for an exhibition honoring Elizabeth Raphael, a woman who believed passionately in the transformative power of art to change lives.
The $5,000 Raphael Prize was awarded to Meghan Patrice Riley for her necklace “Interstitial.” The jurors also awarded a $1,000 second prize to Mari Ishikawa, a Japanese-born artist currently working in Germany, for her “Parallel World,” a deeply expressive brooch in silver and Japanese kozo paper. Honorable mentions were awarded to the seminal metals artist Bob Ebendorf and emerging artist Daniel DiCaprio.
SNAG partnered with U.S. curator Lauren Kalman and South African curator Carinne Terreblanche on their exhibition, “Dichotomies in Objects, Contemporary South African Studio Jewelry from the Stellenbosch Area.” All artists selected are affiliated with Stellenbosch University, the only university in South Africa teaching conceptual approaches to jewelry making.
This educational exhibition featured close to 150 pieces of work by eighteen South African artists. The curators chose provocative, experimental and formally engaging work to showcase. Here are examples of work in the exhibition.
SNAG underwrote the exhibition catalogue, with an essay by Dr. Lize van Robbroeck, Associate Professor of the Department of Visual Arts, Stellenbosch University.
The exhibition was at Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco in July 2010. It then traveled to the Ohio Craft Museum in Columbus from September 12 through October 31, 2010; and The Metal Museum in Memphis, TN January 23 through April 1, 2011.