AUArts & ATB announce latest exhibition featuring jewellery and metals

AUArts + ATB are pleased to announce What Is and What's to Come as their next collaborative exhibit.

The exhibition speaks to the changing nature of jewellery and metals as a discipline, and how these nuances are reflected within the medium through past and present works from the AUArts Jewellery and Metals program. This survey of works from recent alumni and current students highlights the potential of jewellery and metals, and the medium’s momentum moving forward.

The full spectrum of work encourages curiosity and exploration into the many avenues of installation and display of jewellery. Current AUArts students created work specifically for presentation on the body, in contrast to alumni work, which utilizes traditional methods of display. Through these juxtapositions, the exhibition highlights the evolving culture of AUArts, specifically the Jewellery and Metals Department. With the inclusion of present and forward-thinking work, What Is and What's to Come is a testament to the artistic jewellery and craft community that Alberta University of the Arts continually grows, while showcasing possible future directions of the discipline.

Participating Artists include:

Amanda Boudjaklian, Anna Olino, Austin Rowat, Blake Van Buren, Caleb Witvoet, Chynna Brake, Devon Clark, Echo (Qiuchen) Ji, Elvira Salimgareeva, Emily Aman, Jamie Kroger, Jessica Van De Brand, Joelle Parakin, Kari Woo, Kristie Au, Louise Perrone, Sara Noël Perry-Din, and Xiaotong Jiao.

About the artists

Amanda Boudjaklian

Image courtesy of Amanda Boudjaklian

Title: Eyes Up, 2019

Materials: Photographs printed on foam core, laser-etched stainless steel, silver-plated chain and brass tube

Eyes Up is about confronting the male gaze. Every woman is faced with the discomfort of having someone stare at their chest at least once in their lives. This piece is meant to confront the viewer with the gaze of each woman photographed staring back at them, as well as their gaze mimicked back to the viewer on a laser-etched stainless steel pendant that sits right above their breasts. It is made to remind the viewer that we, as women, are aware of where your eyes tend to go, and the pendant is a physical reminder of where they should be.

Anna Olino

Image courtesy of Anna Olino

Although I am a Jewellery & Metals major, I have recently strayed from the use of metal, in order to explore materiality. I am interested in what different materials can do for specific concepts and ideas, and in the ways that different materials can be made to mimic one another.

My work serves as a reflection of the beauty standards that control our lives in some ways. I want to show people what these beauty standards are doing to the minds of those who don’t quite meet them but wish they did. The insecurities, the lifestyle imbalance, the illnesses—whether physical or mental. By combining my pieces with photography, I am working out what exactly the terms “body positivity,” “beauty,” and “beauty standards” mean to me.

Chynna Brake

Image courtesy of Chynna Brake

Title: Blue Connections, 2019

Materials: Wood dowels, paint

My work consists of the exploration of materiality and its relationship to the body through form, scale, and weight. I explore sculptural objects that form against and protrude off the body, often restricting movement through methods of construction or the way they are held to or resting on the body. I am interested in exploring the potential and expectations of functionality in the idea of the wearable object, along with the change in the movement of the figure while the piece is worn. By creating multiples in unconventional materials, I investigate comfortability in the idea of the wearable, form, and how different material choices affect different parts of the body.

Devon Clark

Image courtesy of Devon Clarke

Title: Wear Well (brooch), 2018

Materials: Oxidized sterling silver with vintage price tag label

My work fuses an assortment of materials and eras together. Objects and parts that no longer serve their original purpose intrigue me, as do the sentimental narratives that surround them. Like old bits of inherited, broken, or discarded jewellery that I can modify, restore, and integrate into my own designs. Or salvaged metal from my scrap bin, an invaluable supply of failed construction attempts, abandoned ideas, and discarded past works waiting to be reclaimed and re-shaped into something new. Old stories are layered upon new ones and imperfect beauty is celebrated anew through melted surfaces, blemishes in pearls, visible frameworks, exposed joints, and intentionally empty stone settings. Contrasts in relationships between the forgotten and the remembered, the discarded and the cherished, the broken and the repaired, and ultimately the worthless and the valued, are explored.

Echo (Qiuchen) Ji

Image courtesy of Echo Ji

Title: TuanFan, 2019

Material: Sterling silver

Through my practice, I have focused on the art of filigree. Currently, I construct hollow forms and create imagery through filigree. In some of my early works, I was working with my cultural background, and pulled many imagery and techniques into my metalwork. I found my interest in early lacework and delicate filigree during my research.

Inspired by my research of ancient European metalwork, I wish to connect to my culture, where the same skills are applied. Based on my interest in the vintage object, I started with the idea of bringing back some traditional objects that are losing their character in modern life and expressing them through a contemporary lens. Filigree as a traditional form of metalsmithing has existed in many cultures and represented different meanings. I find my inspiration from the process of making and believe the process is just as important as the final piece. The appreciation of craftsmanship is also a component of my work.

Jamie Kroger

Image courtesy of Jamie Kroeger

Title: Lost and Found: Amiskwi Valley, 2019

Materials: Steel mesh, cotton, steel and acrylic paint

The series Lost and Found relates to the love/hate relationships that exist between humans and the outdoors: those that include harsh conditions, uncertainty and overcoming challenges. A relationship with nature takes time and patience, appreciating the repetitive and trusting the intuitive. In this, material and process become a tangible means of portraying these moments and often act as a metaphor for conditions such as emotion, change and balance/imbalance. Through the resulting objects and relations to object (making or wearing), I examine how experience and knowledge influence todays social constructs that lends to the current relationship between humans and the natural environment.

Jessica Van De Brand

Image courtesy of Jessica Van De Brand

Title: Amanita, Actaea, Aconite, 2019

Materials: Copper, fine silver, vitreous enamel

Representations of the mossy forest floor, as a stage for decay and rebirth, and poisonous flora are often present in the designs of my work. Poison, as not merely a destructive, deadly force, is an essential aspect of nature’s balance- a means of survival and the will to live. Bones, mushrooms, and moss create a deathly but natural atmosphere. Deceiving symbols such as the innocent-appearing poisonous berry or the beautiful, but deadly poisonous flower create a more welcoming feeling, inviting the wearer/audience to accept death as a natural part of life.

Kari Woo

Image courtesy of Kari Woo

Title: a/Part Ring Series, 2018

Materials: Sterling silver, found materials

Whether it is my jewellery design or mixed media pieces I am always tending to notions of identity and sense of place in my work. The objects in this series are embossed and embellished with materials found in the forest that borders my backyard such as lichen, bark and grass.  Do these jewellery objects become badges of belonging marked with these textures,? Can such objects create a feeling of connectedness to a place? Do they make a claim to be a part of a place or pronounce how apart from the natural world we are?

Kristie Au

Title: Piercing Series: Brooch, 2019

Materials: Acrylic, Brass, Thread, Nickel Silver

As a Chinese person born in Canada, I wanted to explore the idea of my bicultural identity. Using objects and imagery that is significant to my culture, I want to convey the sense of displacement and confusion in cultural belonging while explaining my state of the in-between. Inspired by the traditional paper-cutting method, a piece taken from my Piercing Series investigates the complex interrelationship between the culture of one’s origin and that of an adopted land; demonstrating how the feeling of belonging is on the verge of disappearance. My work looks to achieve better understanding and representation regarding my sense of self in relation to a place of origin.

Louise Perrone


Image courtesy of Louise Perrone

Title: Re-Authorized, ongoing series

Materials: Silk necktie, styrene, hand-sewn

I construct jewellery from domestic and industrial waste fabrics that mimic the colour and lustre of my earlier anodized aluminum work, employing a hand sewing technique based on English Paper Piecing patchwork to create structured, geometric pieces that reference traditional quilting patterns. Re-Authorized is an ongoing series of works made from used silk neckties that use this technique. Stereotypically, the tie is seen as an assumed symbol of masculine authority. Through my handwork, this loaded accessory is transformed into a new object with a new meaning.

Sara Noël Perry-Din

Image courtesy of Sara Noël Perry-Din

Title: Scissors Too, 2019

Materials: Navy Gale, Cherry wood, milk paint, sterling silver, silver, carnelian, goldstone, opal, lapis lazuli

Practicing metalsmithing, woodworking and drawing techniques, I craft small-scale objects. Visual cues demonstrating the unskilled nature of my hands reveal tensions between performance and function, mundane and otherworldly, acceptance and defeat. Celebrating an imperfect process, I get my hands on everything, learning material properties to compromise with a necessity to destroy and make. I problem solve and work my way through ideas that would not have existed if it were not for compromising my existence with the craft process. Familiar tools such as shelves, scissors or candles are slanted to visualize unconscious moods in domestic spaces.

Xiaotong Jiao

Image courtesy of Xiaotong Jiao

Title: Scale and Sword, n.d.

Material: Fine Silver

Myth and fairy tales are the major influences in my artwork. I explore the relationship between my experience and imagination. I create beautiful and elegant wearable works of art through metal, enamel, and other materials. I attempt to combine the personal with the cultural. I combine the mythological elements of the West and the East to create narrative artwork. I believe that telling stories enables us to find the meaning of our lives and understand the human condition. Filigree technique and metalwork lay the foundation for my visual language. I feel a greater connection to storytelling when I use this material and technique because it can be used to describe any pattern in jewelry, such as the shape of lacy flourishes, and beautiful scrollwork by using pure silver wires, my senses are fully engaged.

What Is and What's to Come is curated by Alberta University of the Arts Jewellery and Metals Faculty Lyndsay Rice and Reed Fagan. The exhibition features the work of AUArts students and alumni and will be open to the public from October 30 until TBA 2020 during ATB business hours.

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