Few argue that jewelery is one of the most difficult mediums to show, let alone tour.
But that’s the challenge. Jason Smith, curator / director of Geelong Gallery, shared a 25-year journey of acclaimed glass artist, designer and jeweler Blanche Tilden at her exhibition. Spillover effect..
COVID threw some curve balls on the tour schedule, but the exhibition arrived at Jam Factory in Adelaide in time for the festival and took place before it was announced in Toowoomba and Canberra.
For many, Tilden is a discovery, despite being one of the few Australian artists to collect works at the Museum of Decorative Arts, which is part of the Louvre Museum in Paris. She is also part of the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, perhaps the most respected glass museum in the world.
The tour is very easy and is an effort to bring her name to the awareness of a larger audience in Australia.
In her work, Tilden fuses a glass medium with materials normally associated with industrial design, such as borosilicate glass, titanium, glass camera lens components, computer parts, and recycled objects such as bicycle chains. I am.
This is a strange combination in the jewelery world, but it was a natural choice for Tilden. Her grandfather and her father worked at BHP in Port Kembla and she grew up knowing how things were made.
The first idea is that the result will be clunky. The exact opposite. These objects incorporate brightness. They are presented throughout the display case and the swarm of stands, with individual objects appearing to float at perfect display height.
My only criticism is that the colors are kept to a minimum (which could have helped the object pop out a bit more in space, given the predominance of clear glass), but that’s Tilden. Fully in sync with the aesthetics of.
The effect is neutral in space and the only prosperity is the arcs and curves of the display furniture, reflecting Tilden’s jewelery.
The center of the gallery is the reproduced work, Long conveyor, Sitting like a spine through her practice. Included in her first solo exhibition in 1997, this new version, 5 meters long, was commissioned by Geelong Gallery.
According to Smith, the work not only speaks to Geelong as a major industrial manufacturing center (many factories are currently closed) and design city, but also mentions the role that manufacturing played in the pandemic. increase.
The gallery adds:
Its skeletal / spinal quality spans many of Tilden’s works and serves as a memory, both formally and symbolically. The study plans the production of Tilden from 1995 to 2020, spanning several tasks.
Starting with student work, Universal (1991) Made from flame-processed borosilicate, Triangle black and blue (1991) and One gold link In (1995), visitors have already witnessed sophisticated individual languages and incredible technical capabilities.
What Tilden struggled with at the time, and the problem most jewelers face, is how to combine the individual elements. I am determined to take various forms throughout this exhibition.
A feature of Tilden’s work is the riffing of bicycle chains everywhere, inspired by Tilden’s studio behind the bike repair shop. Here we are fascinated by Tilden’s love for mechanical repetition. Again, she has refined it over the years, using handmade equipment to completely imitate the machine.
Part of the exhibition is a great video that takes viewers to Tilden’s studio and “clarifies” the process.
Read: Exhibition Review: Jeffrey Smart, NGA
The other series to mention is her Fe et Verre When Wearable city A work that takes that industrial base and brings it to a festival of modernist architecture (2010-2015). Not surprisingly, these parts are glass gradients in the form of a kind of scaffolding, created using waterjet and cold working techniques, and a combination of metal and glass that defines the world’s skyline. Stack the tiles.
Tilden will make another transformation from 2016 to 2018, going around completely from its first work Universal (1991) And stretch it into sophisticated elegance Flow 03 (2016).
It was also the moment when Tilden’s interest in circular discs became apparent, leading to her next significant work at the Mary Featherston Archive and the National Gallery of Australia (NGV).
In 2015, Tilden was invited to work on a collection of glass jewelery parts made by Featherston’s husband Grant in the 1940s, leading to a new series.continue Lens on time (2018), the necklace that collected the spectacle lenses collected Featherston’s mother Peg Curry.
It also led to other works made from recovered glass lenses and analog SLR cameras – Spillover effect (2019-2021) – Origin of the name of the exhibition. These are displayed as concentric sweeps that display the necklace together.
Overall, all of Tilden’s work, from these student works to these latest works, is consistent and far from the simplest elegance and conceptual potency. She is constantly looking at the role of function and value in design.
Today we are very focused on the topic of sustainability, but Tilden is a pioneer here, recycling does not have to mean dirty aesthetics, it gives inspiration to broaden the conversation. It incorporates the idea of being a design resource.
Another interesting aspect of this exhibition is how to play the role of collector, both in portraits as part of the exhibition’s story and in their comments, and also in the accompanying catalog.
It revives jewelry as a living art form. “It’s the wearer’s reaction that makes my jewelery successful. The connection that a necklace can develop as it becomes valuable to someone else and it becomes part of their persona, their life, their experience. Is the aspect of my practice that I value most, “says Tilden.
Blanche Tilden is based in Melbourne.
Blanche Tilden — Spillover: 25 Years of Survey
March 3rd-May 1st, 2022
Geelong Gallery traveling exhibition. Future venue:
Toonbury Art Gallery, Queensland, Saturday, July 2, 2022 to Sunday, September 4, 2022
Canberra Museum & Gallery, ACT, Saturday, November 12, 2022 to Sunday, February 19, 2023