The Multitude opened on Tuesday 21st July and ran from 22nd July – 9th August 2009. This exhibition was curated by Karl Chitham and Caroline Billing to highlight contemporary jewellery practice in New Zealand. Exploring a world that for many was a complete surprise, expanding the horizons of what is considered to be jewellery and redefined the way we look at it.
The exhibition featured the work of thirteen of New Zealand’s most innovative jewellers including Warwick Freeman, Alan Preston, Anna Wallis, Octavia Cook, Andrea Daly, Fran Allison, Elfi Spiewack, Sharon Fitness, Renee Bevan, Mary Curtis, Ross Malcolm, Shelley Norton and Pauline Bern.
Co-curator Caroline Billing described The Multitude as ‘A visual feast which gives the audience a taste of some of the amazing work we have to offer here in New Zealand. It is a must see if you are keen to look outside of the box and see something that will make you really think about the role jewellery plays as an individual statement’.
The exhibition was on show in one of Christchurch’s significant art hubs and offered some exciting and surprising viewing for the unsuspecting Arts Festival visitor.
SoFA Basement (below SoFA Gallery)
South Quad, The Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch
Mon-Fri, 11am – 5pm, Sat-Sun, 12pm - 4pm
Fran Allison completed her jewellery education in England in the early 1980’s gaining a Masters degree from the Royal College of Art, London in 1984. Allison was an organiser of the prestigious London Dazzle jewellery event and lecturer at RMIT in Melbourne. In 1994 she relocated to New Zealand and took up a position as lecturer at Manukau Institue of Technology. Allison has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions including Assorted Titbits at the Dowse Art Museum and JOC (Jewellery Out of Context), which toured internationally. In recent years Allison has been involved with Weeds, a joint project with Shelley Norton, Andrea Daly and Lisa Walker.
Renee Bevan is a contemporary jeweller who lives and works in Auckland. She exhibits her work both nationally and internationally. As well as working part time at Fingers Gallery she is the jewellery technician at Manukau Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts. Bevan has assisted in the organisation and facilitation of several significant workshops, symposiums and events aimed at the contemporary jewellery community. Bevan was recently selected for the prestigious annual international contemporary jewellery exhibition Schmuck 2008. Also in 2008 she undertook her first curatorial project Overcast which was part of the 2008 National Jewellery Showcase event in Wellington.
Pauline Bern began her career as a jeweller in the United States in the 1970’s. On her return to New Zealand she exhibited work with Fingers in Auckland and has participated in many of the founding jewellery projects and groups in New Zealand including Details Jewellery Group and The Persuasive Object Craft Conference. Bern has taken part in a number of group exhibitions such as Paua Dreams at Fingers, Close to Home at Snowhite Gallery and Handycrafts at Te Tuhi – The Mark. Recent projects have included Scrub, Grate, Whisk, which toured New Zealand and The Ring Project at The NEW Dowse in Lower Hutt. Bern is a senior tutor at Unitec NZ in Auckland.
Octavia Cook graduated from Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, in 1998 with a Bachelor of 3D Design in Jewellery. Since then, Cook has participated in numerous projects including collaborations with clothing designer Natalija Kucija from 1999 to 2004. In recent years Cook has developed the Cook & Co brand which has featured in a number of exhibitions including Her Majesty’s Pleasure at Objectspace, Telecom Prospect at City Gallery, Wellington and Venerable Heirlooms from the Cook and Co Coffers at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. A member of Workshop 6 jewellery workshop in Auckland, Cook is currently expanding the Cook & Co brand internationally.
Mary CurtisMary Curtis has been a practising jeweller since the late 1980’s. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Jewellery department as part of the Manukau School of Visual Arts in Auckland. Curtis has attended residencies in Edinburgh, Scotland and Munich, Germany. She has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and has been included twice in the Dowse Jewellery Biennale. Curtis lives and works in Auckland where she is a Senior lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology School of Visual Art.
Andrea DalyAndrea Daly is a practicing jeweller who works from her own studio and is a Partner in Fingers Jewellery Gallery. She studied in Australia at Sydney College of the Arts and completed an undergraduate Bachelor and Post Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts majoring in Contemporary Jewellery. She later went on to complete a Masters in Philosophy majoring in Art History at Auckland University. Daly has been involved in teaching on numerous night courses, weekend workshops and guest lecturer spots as well as being a lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology in the Visual Arts Degree Course until 2004. She now lectures Jewellery Design on the Hungry Creek Visual Arts Diploma and works in her studio.
Sharon Fitness graduated from Manukau Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts in 2008. Since then Fitness has already established herself as a maker to watch. She has had solo exhibitions at Masterworks and Fingers Galleries, Auckland and a window work in Objectspace. Fitness has participated in a number of group exhibitions including Graduate Metal X1, Adelaide and Weeds Invites, Auckland. Fitness currently works at Masterworks Gallery in Auckland.
Warwick FreemanWarwick Freeman has been creating jewellery since the 1980’s. Freeman was an early member of the Fingers jewellery collective and one of the artists featured in Bone Stone Shell: New Jewellery New Zealand, an exhibition of contemporary New Zealand jewellery which toured Australia and Asia in 1988. Since then Freeman has become known for his innovative approach, developing significant bodies of work and publications including Given and Owners Manual. He is represented by a number of international galleries including Gallerie Ra in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Ross Malcolm completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Jewellery at The Manukau Institute of Technology in 2004, where he is currently working part-time as a Jewellery Technician. Since graduating, Malcolm has moved from strength to strength, winning a number of awards including Supreme Contemporary Award, National Jewellery Showcase, in 2007 and Overall Winner of the Molly Morpeth Canaday 3D Awards in 2006. In recent years Malcolm has been developing a series of works titled Potted Colour which draw on his interests in ecology and sustainability.
Shelley Norton graduated from Manukau Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts in 2002. She quickly became a regular exhibitor, taking part in numerous contemporary jewellery shows throughout New Zealand including JOC (Jewellery Out of Context) curated by Peter Deckers, Overcast, curated by Renee Bevan and As Good As Gold, curated by Fran Allison. Norton has had work featured in the international publications 500 Bracelets, 500 Brooches and 1000 Ringsby Lark Books, New York. In 2005 Norton participated in the first Weeds exhibition at Fingers, Auckland, with Andrea Daly, Fran Allison and Lisa Walker. The group has since had two further exhibitions and will be travelling to Munich later this year.
Alan Preston was a co-founder of Fingers Contemporary Jewellery Gallery in Auckland in 1974, and was also featured in the iconic exhibition Bone Stone Shell: New Jewellery New Zealandwhich was to define New Zealand jewellery in the years that followed. Preston is an adjunct professor at Unitec NZ and his work is represented in many of New Zealand’s collections. In 2007 Preston gained a Creative NZ grant which allowed him to develop new works for a major solo exhibition Made in Aotearoa at The NEW Dowse in Lower Hutt. The exhibition toured to a number of national institutions and resulted in an independent publication titled Between the Tides written by Damian Skinner.
Elfi Spiewack was born in Kassel, Germany. She studied Jewellery Design at the University College of Design in Pforzheim, Germany and has been a practising jeweller since the early 1990’s. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1999, Spiewack has exhibited extensively throughout the country since 2000 including exhibitions at Fingers in Auckland, Quoil in Wellington, Inform Contemporary Jewellery in Christchurch and Lure in Dunedin. She has also been included in a number of shows in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States. Spiewack recently toured Bone, Hearth & Fire to Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
Anna WallisAnna Wallis has developed a significant jewellery practice since she gained a Certificate of Craft Design from Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin in the early 1990s. Wallis was a founding member of the celebrated Workshop 6 jewellery workshop in Kingsland, Auckland and has participated in numerous jewellery exhibitions including Pretty and Popular Science in Auckland,BrandSpankingNew in Wellington and Alien in Sydney, Australia. In 2002 Wallis was a jeweller on the motion picture ‘The Last Samurai’ and in 2004 on ‘Perfect Creature’. Wallis has entered a number of awards and in 2004 was awarded Overall Winner of the Molly Morpeth Canaday 3D Awards: Jewellery and gained a Merit Award in the OceaniaGold National Jewellery Awards, Dunedin in 2006. Recent projects have included works in Overcast, curated by Renee Bevan, and Sugar Mountain at Objectspace in 2009.