August 2012

Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet

Quirk Gallery Quirk Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, is showing the work of two wonderfully unique makers named Kim Overstreet and Robin Kranitzky. They have worked together for years and I have always wondered how they got together and how they think about the stories they tell with their jewelry. This show was an opportunity to ask them some questions and find out. Maggie Smith who is the Exhibitions Director at Quirk Gallery also gave us some insight into the beginnings of the gallery.

Susan Cummins: Tell me the story of how Quirk Gallery got started.

Maggie Smith: Katie Ukrop opened Quirk in 2005 in an upcoming section of Richmond’s downtown area. There were a few galleries already located in our neighborhood. The area has continued to grow and recently became recognized as the Richmond’s Arts & Culture District. I joined Katie and the Quirk gang in 2007. Being a Richmond native I have felt very lucky to be a part of the cultural growth that is happening in our city.

Can you describe your space?

Quirk is a unique space in that we have three designated exhibition areas, as well as a shop and Quirk Represents. Quirk Represents is an area reserved specifically for art jewelry. Our exhibition areas are The Shop Wall, The Main Gallery and The Vault. Throughout the year we show jewelry in all three spaces. The Vault is tiny little brick room with a lovely weathered fire door. There are several stories as to what the Vault used to be. My personal favorite is that it stored hops during the building’s brewery days.

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Desire curated by Megan Romero

Heidi Lowe This is the AJF blog’s first look at Heidi Lowe Gallery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, but we recently featured a profile of Heidi and the gallery in the July AJF newsletter – a members only feature. The gallery’s latest show is called Desire, a theme that many jewelers investigate. I was curious as to who was included and how the idea was handled.

Susan Cummins: AJF featured you and your gallery in the July newsletter so I don’t want to repeat the questions asked, but for the sake of this interview, can you give me a short version of the story of how you decided to run a jewelry gallery?

I have always been drawn to the museum/gallery sector of the art world.  As an undergrad I worked at the Baxter Gallery at Maine College of Art. The director, Jennifer Gross, was a great mentor and she allowed me to participate in all aspects of the gallery. At SUNY I realized how few places the public has to experience art jewelry. Opening a gallery was a way to realize a dream of mine and contribute to the field in general. After grad school I moved to New York City to work at Leo Koenig Inc., a contemporary art gallery in the heart of Chelsea. This experience helped me to understand the logistics of running a gallery, but did not provide a model that I could see myself owning. It was not until I visited Dunedin in New Zealand that I found a gallery that spoke to me. The gallery, Lure, was run by artists, showed many artists’ work and provided a fun and inviting space for the public to interact with art jewelry. This solidified my vision and I opened the gallery three months after returning from New Zealand.

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Iris Eichenberg: Sense Mapping

Exterior of Platina Platina in Stockholm, Sweden, is owned and run by Sofia Björkman, who was educated as a jeweler. Her choice of artists includes jewelers from Sweden but also a very select group from other countries. For the past couple of months the gallery has been showing Iris Eichenberg’s exhibition Sense Mapping. Iris is a force on the jewelry scene and a hard one to pin down. Have a look at Gabriel Craig’s interview with her that was published on the AJF website a few months ago and continue reading to find out more about Platina and Eichenberg’s new exhibition.

Susan Cummins: Please tell us the story of how you became a gallery owner in Stockholm.

Sofia Björkman: I took my MFA 1998 as a jewelry maker. At that time there were no galleries in Stockholm that supported graduating students and we knew very little about the international jewelry world. We learned how to make things but not what was waiting for us after graduation. So I had to start up something I believed in and where I felt free. In 1999, one year after graduation, I started up PLATINA together with two friends. Today I run it myself. After the studies we needed income. So we asked some interior designers to make a shop. We sold our jewelry and we asked artists we liked if we could sell their work too. A month later we did our first exhibition. PLATINA became a gallery, a shop and a studio but we did everything under the name PLATINA.

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Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined: The Jewelry of Mary Lee Hu

  Almost all the elements for greater recognition save one (a national or even regional tour) are in place for Hu with this survey: loans from major private collections and East Coast museums; big-name art critics and curators to author the catalogue essays; an elaborate, gorgeously designed full-color hardbound monograph and a major art museum

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Antje Bräuer, Jewelry

Galerie Marzee exterior Envision a four-storey high jewelry gallery. It seems mythological and is hard to imagine but Galerie Marzee is proof that it can exist. The owner, Marie-Jose van den Hout, has an ambitious vision for her gallery. It was founded in 1978, moved into the current building in 1995 and since then has specialized in presenting contemporary jewelry at the highest levels. While sipping on her beloved Illy espresso she answered some questions for the AJF blog. She often runs several solo shows at once and in July I picked out the artist Antje Bräuer from Germany to interview. Her work was especially mysterious.

Susan Cummins: Marie- Jose, what led you to create a four-storey high jewelry gallery in a smallish town in the middle of the Netherlands?

Marie Jose Van Den Hout: Well, I started my gallery in Nijmegen. This is my second move and my third building. The Town Council of Nijmegen wanted to create a cultural destination for this building and asked me if I was interested. I would never be able to get a building like this anywhere else in Holland. Actually, the original intent for the building was for it to be demolished and sold to Holiday Inn to build a hotel, but the Town Council decided otherwise. When I bought the space it was a mere skeleton. Bert Dirrix, the architect I hired to shape the gallery, designed some museums. We chose simple materials – concrete, glass and steel – and kept the original walls. Traces of its former life as a grain warehouse still remain in the building today. Above all, I wanted to give the jewelry room to breathe, in the same way that any fine art gallery would display their works of art. With Marzee, my original intention was to display jewelry alongside the different disciplines of art and design. But I found that people tend to take you more seriously if you specialize. Now that I have made a name for myself, I collaborate with the largest fine arts gallery in Holland, Nouvelles Images. We exchange exhibitions – I receive work from, say, a sculptor and they receive work by a jeweler – so that in the end I am able to achieve the diversity I always aspired to represent.

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Blanche Tilden: Wearable Cities

Katie Scott Gallery Funaki in Melbourne, Australia has a surprisingly international reputation and one look at their roster of artists shows a strong sprinkling of the great European jewelers amongst the best Australia and New Zealand have to offer. Gallery Funaki under the direction of Katie Scott recently joined AJF and we are happy to welcome them as a supporter and to give some insight into both the gallery’s history and the background of one of their local artists, Blanche Tilden.

Susan Cummins: For those that haven’t visited you in Melbourne, could you please give us a history of the gallery and its physical location and qualities?

Katie Scott: Mari Funaki opened Gallery Funaki in 1995. She had recently graduated from the gold and silversmithing program at RMIT and wanted to establish a space that would show what she considered the best of international contemporary jewelry – pieces that hadn’t had an audience in Australia before – and show it in a way that really did the work justice. She also wanted to promote Australian jewelry in this context, placing it beside and showing its equality with the international movement. The gallery is located in a small laneway in central Melbourne, an area known for its culture and history. It is a small, narrow space fitted out very simply with two long shelves as the exhibition space and a series of drawers in which pieces are kept. Mari felt it was important that the jewelry shouldn’t be behind glass but accessible to the hand and eye. People can really examine and interact with jewelry here in a way they can’t do anywhere else.

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