As I turn the corner into Jarrad Street, an ethereal white and gold bracelet in the window of Katherine Kalaf’s Gallery hangs suspended in mid air, sunlight glinting off a myriad tiny stalactites thrusting out from the warm gold, like a snow covered forest. I’m enchanted.
Christel van der Laan’s exhibition is a great example of a series of works that are not only conceptual but mostly remarkably practical and wearable too. I love the contrast of geometrically floral forms in the brooches of gold and price tag brooches. Almost every piece looks light and airy; the lines created where the semi translucent tags overlap would show up stunningly against dark fabric.
The brooches in gold are a lovely variation on the original theme. In one, tiny pieces of glass from broken windscreens glisten. In others, where tiny shapes are cut and bent back from the top sheet with geometric precision, the lights and shadows reflected from the highly polished backing sheet are like sunlight glinting on water.
There’s a humour, strength and delicacy about all of these works that truly appeals and an admirable variety of ideas developed from the one concept.
This exhibition is “Capital A” Art with a sense of purpose and direction. The original design concept – partnering every day, throw away items with the ‘noble’ metals in an invitation to rethink perceived and actual value, to ask ourselves why we adorn ourselves, and at what cost – is carried through in beautifully crafted works that are technically precise, thought provoking, interesting to look at and mostly lovely to wear as well.
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