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Jewelry in the box but outside the lines

Sunday, May 11, 2014
Diamond sea urchin ring and chocolate pearl ring by Barbara Jardine. Photos: Marsha Pearce

Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry gleam and twinkle at Y Art Gallery. The space has been transformed into a jewel box for its latest exhibition of works by Janice Derrick, Jade Drakes, Rachel Ross, Barbara Jardine, Sarah May Marshall Knight, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Micha Gomes, Ashraph and Peter Sheppard. Overall, the show has a much quieter impact in comparison to the last year’s Jewelbox display, which had more pieces that leaned toward an aesthetic that blurred the line between what is typically considered jewelry and what is deemed sculpture. 


Yet, as the viewer engages with individual pieces in this exhibition, intimate moments that have a strong impression on the sense of sight and on emotions, are established. In honour of Mother’s Day, Jade Drakes’ presentation includes a crown designed so that it can be pinned to the head. The piece draws on the idea of maternal figures as the queens in our lives. Drakes said it is one of a new line of crowns in the making. Her collection also includes a number of earrings she calls “sisters.” The two sides in each pair of earrings differ slightly from each other. In Sisters 2, for example, Drakes incorporates a yellow diamond in the design of one side and a white diamond in the other—the earrings are siblings; related but not identical. These works have personal resonance, as Drakes and her sister celebrate motherhood together for the first time this year.


Janice Derrick maintains her focus on geometry and clean lines in her work but her new pieces show evidence of her attention to more free-form shapes. “As I worked, I kept thinking of the theme of the imperfect circle. I thought about how circles intersected with other planes,” she said. Lyrical lines spiral in her designs to produce ovals with their own spirited personality. Micha Gomes offers contrast with her textured surfaces and tiny gemstone details. Her work is a mix of organic and angular shapes. Her influence comes from Egyptian creative expression, which is seen in her use of pyramid motifs.Peter Sheppard’s pocket watches invite viewers to look into time. Sheppard presents miniature painted images on the face of each clock: an old house, Hindu prayer flags, a river scene and more. He draws on an art tradition of small paintings being displayed in lockets. 


Barbara Jardine listens to nature in her work. She uses sea urchins in her design of rings, extending their patterns and echoing their shapes with her careful introduction of silver, gold, ebony and moonstone. Ashraph transforms nuts, bone and aluminium into attractive, wearable elements. Rachel Ross’s necklaces—with large baroque pearls and big oval links—and her hammered bangles have undeniable presence and Sarah May’s dome forms appear as shining satellites that can be used for sending signals of self-confidence. The group exhibition offers much in its offering of varied approaches to producing works of art that serve not only in acts of adornment but also in processes of making statements about who people are and want to be.


Jewelbox opened on May 4 and runs until May 17 at Y Art Gallery, 26 Taylor Street, Woodbrook. More info: 628-4165 or e-mail: [email protected]


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