Fran Allison, Colleen Altagracia, Renee Bevan, Emily Bullock, Sandra Bushby, Stella Chrysostomou, Tracey Clement, Grant Corbishley, Deborah Crowe, Andrea Daly, Tony De Goldi, Lang Ea, Ilse-Marie Erl, Chelsea Gough, Niki Hastings McFall, Jennifer Laracy, Leola Le Blanc, Ross Malcolm, Gina Matchitt, Victoria McIntosh, Carolyn Millbank, Shelley Norton, Gabby O'Connor, Arti Sandhu, Matthijs Siljee, Pippi Tetley, Hanne Van Beek, Lisa Walker
Jewellery Out Of Context (JOC) was originally curated by Peter Deckers and Dr Carole Shepheard as an exhibition for the 2006 International Jewelers and Metalsmiths' Group of Australia conference. JOC ‘Junior' has recently been revised as a touring exhibition and will later be traveling to Canada, The Netherlands and Germany. Objectspace is the New Zealand venue for the exhibition. The installations comprising JOC further the discourse around jewellery, enabling contemporary practice in New Zealand to be stretched beyond traditional boundaries.
We occupy a time when the wearable object is often a commoditized branding concept, replicated through cheap materials and labour. Jewellery is witness to this one-upmanship. The recent fashions for 'bling' or boutique labels venturing into high-end priced watches and jewellery are obvious examples of how conventions around adornment are manipulated, emphasizing our collective focus on the body as site.
The curatorial brief for JOC involved makers unraveling the conventions of jewellery, albeit within a much more individual and purposeful aesthetic framework than the above examples. The curators note, "JOC is born from the desire to communicate the unique issues related to jewellery and adornment, in formats with and different from itself. The aim was to reveal and unravel the many facets related to the formation and organisation of the jewellery discourse."
The makers in JOC subject jewellery practice and body adornment to conceptual artistic processes. In this exhibition precious materials are not treated as sacrosanct or hierarchical. Instead the emphasis is on context. "What is precious and what is non-precious seen through the eyes of artists will transform relationships and positions of normality. It is made special by the reflection of who we are and what we like to be."
As important as it may be to open new doors in the search for meaning, it is however also part and parcel of any aesthetic practice to leave some stones unturned. Cultural theorist Jonathan Culler fittingly observed, "problems always arise within the framework of a set of assumptions, and a new theory can only challenge or explain those assumptions." Finally, on this note JOC generously invites us to take some time to reconsider objects traditionally ‘made to wear.'