A three-person exhibition of studio jewelry – one-of-a-kind bracelets, necklaces, rings and brooches – is featured at the Park Avenue Armory, April 16-19 at the Aaron Faber Gallery. The exhibition features the work of Glenda Arentzen, Sydney Lynch and So Young Park, different generations of jewelry artists with similar interests in working directly in sterling silver and gold.
Glenda Arentzen, whose work is in the Museum of Art and Design permanent collection, celebrates more than forty years working by hand as a jewelry artist. Her silver and gold highly textured works are sculptural with an appeal that derives in part from their tactile qualities. About this new collection, Glenda notes,
“My aim is to create compelling new wearable works in which I share some part of my current experience… Looking at the finished work, I see a recurring theme of relating, uniting, and reconciling disparate elements, for which I need a wide vocabulary of textures such as those achieved through wax work, carving, engraving, textured hammering and fusing. These are techniques of the hand rather than the machine. I believe that the more obvious the hand, the more direct and compelling an expression of the content of the work in which I am currently interested.”
Sydney Lynch, the second artist in the exhibition, favors bi-metal, a gold-and-silver sheet metal that allows her to create works that play with both metals. She incorporates gemstones, often rough or cabochon, that are colorful rather than precious. About this collection, Sydney remarks,
“For many years, my jewelry designs have been primarily nature- inspired without being representational. Several years ago, while spending time in Tulum, Mexico, I photographed handmade fences constructed of tall, thin sticks of wood that appeared to be branches or trunks of spindly trees. Using this inspiration as a springboard, I have been cutting strips of silver and gold sheet, then texturing and re-shaping them using first a rolling mill, and then a hammer. Recent designs have been moving more toward linear shapes, manipulating the metal sticks to create “drawings” in metal based on drawings I’ve made on paper. Other forms that I use may be leaf- or branch-like. I have used these forged strips to build chains as well.
In terms of preferred materials, I contrast sterling, usually oxidized, with 18k and 22k gold. My lifelong habit of collecting rocks, shells and other finds on walks has matured into an inability to resist accumulating a wide range of cut stones which I often include in my designs. My personal collection of found objects has been a source for the organic shapes in my jewelry.
I’m essentially an intuitive designer, and I feel that my jewelry elicits an equally intuitive response. Why an artist or a collector is drawn toward certain shapes, colors and textures is difficult to answer explicitly. Most of the time, I don’t draw a clear line from a specific experience or visual stimulus to a certain design. I feel that the collective visual library in the brain produces random and unexpected artistic results. “
So Young Park, the most junior of the artists, has developed her unique style of working in sterling and gold through her technical virtuosity and a background in metal arts honed in both Korea and the United States. She writes in the third person about her work:
So Young Park’s concept is that of nativity; where her work is not created but born through her diligent creativity of forming metal. Human and plant life have similar growth and life characteristics. Creation of life requires much patience and suffering. She appreciates being involved in the process to experience the power of miracles, even if it requires the endurance to give a life to her jewelry. Her jewelry pieces express desire, hope, and the power of life through organic plant forms and sea lives that are artistically rendered in a simplistic, geometric, and sophisticated manner.
Expressing the emotions she has towards nativity through using the assembling wires, tiny concave disc, hammered textures, and hand engraving patterns symbolize the origins of life and each elements represent the single cells that makeup all life.
So Young Park usually works on sterling silver and 18k yellow gold with pearls and stones to create beautiful jewelry. She uses a patina with silver to add beautiful colors to the surface. She also brings oxidized silver and gold together to express a beautiful contrast of these cherished materials.
The exhibition opens March 18 at Aaron Faber Gallery, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York and moves on April 15th to the Park Avenue Armory where the artists will present their work.
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