Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Taylor Majewski0
Feature: Contemporary Visions of the Necklace at Mobilia Gallery
In the earliest civilizations jewelry represented status, power and beauty. Today, jewelry is still often associated with wealth since the finest ornaments still boast diamonds and gold; however, jewelers are now redefining the meaning of what we wear. The recently opened exhibition, “Contemporary Visions of the Necklace” at the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, MA showcases a myriad of contemporary jewelers who are doing just that. Most are women, whose jewelry employs uncommon materials and innovative shapes that defy age-old status symbols.
Mobilia Gallery sits on a quiet street corner in Cambridge, MA. Through the windows of the small gallery, pedestrians get a glimpse of the unique and offbeat artwork inside, the main wall decorated with an array of necklaces. Each piece is aesthetically unique, reflecting the ability of the artists’ personal expressions to override the standard of what is considered to be beautiful jewelry.
Inspired by everyday materials, Yong Joo Kim, a jeweler from Seoul, Korea, uses Velcro brand fasteners to create her necklaces. She reconfigures the flexible material into necklaces of interconnected, undulating loops.
“I am not merely observing them, but also engaging in a dialogue with them, trying to understand what their physical properties are,” said Kim when describing her creative process.
While her work tests societal standards of “normal” jewelry, she also pushes her own limits as an artist.
“My creative process has been to push the limitation of one material to create hundreds of complex forms,” Kim said. “I find that working directly with materials is the best way to be surprised.”
A distinguishing aspect of wearable art is its mobility, allowing art to step outside the boundaries of gallery space.
“We are able to wear it and move around,” Kim said. “So even those who do not visit galleries or museums can see them on the street.”
Kim’s use of such a simple material, like Velcro, reflects her philosophy on beauty. She believes that “no matter how mundane or ordinary something seems, when we trust that they are remarkable, that they are special, that they are beautiful and work with them without giving up, you will eventually be surprised to discover that the material possesses qualities that you did not know existed.”
All the artists represented in this exhibition similarly demonstrate Kim’s personal opinion on the hidden qualities of beauty.
Though Yuri Tozuka employs traditional metalsmithing materials and techniques, her finished products are far from traditional. She used silver tubing and wiring to create her work in the Mobilia Gallery. The miniature pipes make an assortment of shapes in her necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
One of Yuri’s necklaces in the exhibition features a marionette pendant, where the string of the necklace controls the figure’s movements. Like Kim, Yuri’s work is also inspired by her observation of things.
“I try to create work which self-generates a character,” Tozuka said. “What is real and what is not are the major keys for me to make decisions towards my work.”
Tozuka’s culture and background have also always influenced her work.
The jewelry by these women featured at the Mobilia Gallery challenges social contexts as they discover unexpected value in atypical materials. The exhibition showcases mundane objects in form of wearable art, transforming them into personal statements of modern declarations of beauty.
See Contemporary Visions of the Necklace at the Mobilia Gallery until December 28. For more information, visit mobilia-gallery.com.