‘In the Loupe’ @ Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery

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Over head view of ‘In the Loupe‘ @ Vittoria Street Gallery

‘In the Loupe’ is the inaugural show for the new Vittoria Street Gallery at the School of Jewellery. The exhibition brings together a multi-disciplinary group of ‘artists, educators, researchers and practitioners from the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and Design’  (Zoe Robertson). The show is also applauding the work of School of Jewellery Alumni, in addition to the Gallerist Victoria Stewart, as she is celebrating her 10th Anniversary as Director of The Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery.

The creators exhibiting are as follows:

Dauvit Alexander, Beaulagh Brooks, Sybella Buttress, Rachael Colley, Sally Collins, Sian Hindle, Andrew Howard, Bridie Lander, Anna Lorenz, Jo Pond, Claire Price, Zoe Robertson, Fern Robinson, Kate Thorley and Maria Whetman.

Zoe Robertson kindly gave us a Curators Tour of the new exhibition,and her insights are reflected throughout this article.

“What we’re trying to do is celebrate the depth and diversity of what we do here at the School of Jewellery, each member of staff has a really different voice, a really different style and a really different practice or concept that they are exploring”

– Zoe Robertson

The exhibition truly emphasizes the ever changing nature of the Jewellery Industry, as there is an eclectic mix of designing, methods and materials used. The show will be highlighting the breadth of talent of those involved, through the collaboration between The Plymouth College of Art and Design and School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. There is an interesting contrast between these jewellery styles, with the coastal landscape evidently reflected in the materials and textures used in the Plymouth alumni’s pieces as demonstrated by Sybella Batress in her use of sea-life-like textures and Maria Whetman’s use of precious materials that are reminiscent of coastal rock formations. (Pictured below)

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Maria Whetman, Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni.

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Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni

Whereas the Birmingham based Makers styles are more reflective of the Industrial Landscape that this city offers – echoed in the various tones and treatments of the metals and materials used in the works.

These industrial, aged textures are prominent in Jo Pond’s work. Jo pond is a narrative Jeweller who creates works that are extremely multi-faceted in narrative, materiality and meaning. Her work really resonated within me and I feel it was one of the strongest within the exhibition.

 

I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding and a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate… Some of these find their way into my work.’ – Jo Pond, Jopond.com

 

According to colleague Pete Croton, ‘ Jo takes old objects, is able to retain the original quality, and turns them in to something beautiful’. Croton went on to explain the original objects, revealing one as a match stick holder, beautifully crafted and adorned with lettering that created a new narrative within the piece. Zoe Robertson expanded upon this by explaining that the lettering on the piece was  taken and reconstructed from old biscuit tins. (Picture Below)

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Works By Jo Pond, School of Jewellery Alumni

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To find out more about Jo Ponds practice, you can visit her website: jopond.com

The Curator and Director of  The Victoria Street Gallery – Zoe Robertson has exhibited a past work (pictured below), that was part of the development of Flockamania. You can find out more about Flockamania at Parkside Gallery by viewing our past blog post on the show. Flockamania fused performance and contemporary jewellery making that resulted in an innovative and vibrant Show and series of performances.

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Work By Zoe Robertson, Director of Vittoria Street Gallery

“My past work has been a real investigation in materials, I really like industrial materials that aren’t used in the traditional, commercial side of jewellery”

– Zoe Robertson

The detailing that has gone in to this piece is immense, with a multitude of processes being utilised. Such as flocking; sublimation and vacuum forming. The outstanding qualities of the work is firstly in the drawing that has been sublimated on to the work. Using special inks that has been transferred using heat and pressure. Secondly, in the vibrancy achieved in the flocking that adorns the entirety of the work.

 Overall the show is an eclectic and engaging inaugural show for Victoria Street Gallery, which reflects the breadth of the Jewellery Industry and the talent of the makers both at Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and design.

All those involved in the realisation of ‘In the Loupe’ should be congratulated. We look forward to more successful exhibitions!

The exhibition is running until Friday 16th December 2016.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, term time only. Please be aware that the Gallery is not open on weekends.

To keep up to date with the new Victoria Street Gallery and for more information on the individual practitioners, you can access the links below:

https://victoriasewart.com/exhibitions/in-the-loupe-exhibition-in-conjunction-with-plymouth-art-weekender/

https://twitter.com/soj_bcu?lang=en

https://twitter.com/Vittoria_S

Leanne O’Connor works as a Marketing and Events Assistant here at Parkside Gallery, and is in her Final Year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Margaret Street School of Art.

Midlands Modern Review

The Midlands Modern exhibition is currently taking place in Parkside Gallery until January 14th, 2017 and is an opportunity to see some great exhibits of modern Midlands manufacturing. At a recent private viewing of the show, I got the chance to look through the range of exhibits on display.

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To start off some of my personal highlights, I first looked at the Gordon Russell exhibit containing the design work of Richard Drew Russell. This particular exhibit shows design work on chairs and includes a cathedral chair from Coventry. These chairs have interesting design elements to enhance the functionality of the seat.

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One of the most exciting pieces within this part of the exhibition is the 1949 Baffle Console and Radio Cabinet.  The design and curvature alone make it interesting. It also serves the purpose of baffling the sound from the radio console above making it a must see for audiophiles.

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Midlands Modern also features designer Susie Coopers work for Wedgewood Group. Wedgewood is still a household name in ceramics and tableware today but the Carnaby Daisy and Gay stripes surface patterns by Susie really makes this range of Wedgewood stand apart. The ceramics exhibit highlight how designs can change the nature of an ordinary object into something far more interesting aesthetically.

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Midlands Modern covers the wide spectrum of disciplines in manufacturing and design throughout the Midlands. The works of printed and woven fabric by Tibor Reich are on display within the exhibition space. In the mid-1950’s Tibor developed a brand new approach to textile design entitled Fotextur to create revolutionary next design for fabric. It is fascinating to see some of the different results of Tibor’s experimental design work in the gallery.

The Midlands manufacturing scene isn’t just known for its work with ceramics, design and fabrics. Midlands Modern includes a wide range of different displays including steel and metalwork, lighting and more.

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I would highly recommend visiting the gallery for this enjoyable exhibition as not only are the exhibition ranging in variety and interest but are a testament to midlands manufacturing over the years. Curator Richard Snell has also provided an interesting video to give you an insight to some of the thinking behind the designs. He also highlights that these designs are important as part of Midlands history and heritage and they will also be part of its future in manufacturing and design.

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A lot of companies involved that pioneered these designs are still going strong today. Their influences can be seen in other modern day products and manufacturing processes. With the Midlands beginning to experience growth again, new opportunities will arise in manufacturing and design. By looking into the manufacturing designs and successes of the past in Midlands Modern, we can see that they are still relevant today and could be a great influence for future design and manufacturing processes within the Midlands.

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Midlands Modern is now open and will continue until January 14th. Check out the website for more details on all of the current and future exhibitions and sign up for the regular newsletters.

Parkside Gallery is active on Twitter and Instagram via @ParksideGallery, so if you go to the exhibition, be sure to tweet or tag the gallery using #MidlandsModern