Jewellery Exhibition Explores City Transitions

14 November 2012

The transient nature of the city street is the inspiration behind jewellery-maker Vanessa Arthur's new exhibition Street Shifts - exploring space between, which starts in November at Toi Poneke Gallery.

The exhibition came to fruition thanks to the DEBLYN artist residency - a venture made possible by DEBLYN Properties Ltd. This allowed Arthur to spend eight months as artist-in-residence at Toi Pōneke, where she explored the surrounding urban landscape and unplanned spaces within it. She was given a rent-free studio for nine months and costs towards materials for Street Shifts.

"I observe and photograph spaces in transition around the city, spaces where the fringes of planning unintentionally collide, creating unplanned combinations of colour, history, industry, street art and advertising. Then I respond to these spaces in jewellery form," says Arthur.

The jewellery includes a series of rings with moving parts, which have been painted and oxidised, designed to wear over time, revealing gold, silver and new layers underneath.

"I'm interested in the ever-changing facade of the urban landscape. I collect materials orphaned and replaced by this evolving cycle, and translate these into jewellery, which will continue to transform and reveal when worn," she says.

Other jewellery on display includes brooches created from dried paint found at the bottom of paint test pots, neck pieces made entirely of paint - which crack and evolve over time to reveal different colours, and beaded neck pieces created from concrete dust and sawdust collected from work sites around the city.

Arthur is the last of three artists who have benefitted from the DEBLYN residency. The other two are artist Natalie Ellen-Eliza, who used her tenure to explore gender inequalities, asset sales and unemployment in her exhibition The Value of Vandalism and sculptor Shane McGrath, who went on to make Glover Park's permanent sculpture, Everything is for the Best, in this Best of all Possible Worlds.

Street Shifts - Exploring Space Between

By Vanessa Arthur

Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street

23 November - 15 December (opening 5.30pm, 22 November)