It seems that anything can become art jewelry, you just have to figure out how to get it onto or relate it with the body. And make no mistake, 85 of the 86 works are wearable, at least briefly. From the entire contents of a junk drawer, to an army of Lego people, from tabloid magazines, to a rubbish bag of recyclables, all with meticulously braided cords. This is not as slap-happy as it sounds. These are calculated compositions, or are they? Some of the objects are transformed just a little, like the Macbook/Ibook pendants, while others are transformed a lot. For example, “Painting by A. Wood, Paraparaumu, New Zealand, made in the likeness of Vincent Van Gogh, necklace”,2010. Regardless, the approach is always shoot-from-the-hip, straight-forward and logical. Lisa sees something in the material she collects for the work. Something that is already present. In this way, before she plays her role as jeweler, she plays the role of material curator. The materials are raised up, given value by Walker spying and pointing our attention to what they contain. Some of the works certainly give off that as-is vibe, while other works are heavily mediated, completely composed, top to bottom.
Walker acknowledges that the perimeters of jewelry are precisely what challenges her to make the work, but what are jewelry’s issues exactly? It’s no secret that jewelry has some hang-ups; conventions related to materials, techniques, form, and meaning. Walker has shed most of this baggage. Her work is materialistically, formally and conceptually inclusive. And if any artistic medium is right for inclusiveness, its jewelry. Jewelry is worn intimately close to the body it is inherent in our nature and intertwined in our history, so everything human is part of jewelry’s issues. Jewelry is tied to our humanness, the sparks inside us that make us more than animals. Our emotions, loyalties, beliefs, dreams, desires, and our ability to express all of these things through figurative and abstract making.
So maybe the work means nothing, or maybe it means everything. There is so much inside, there is room for each of us to find something, meaning something different to each of us. What the work universally contains is questions. About post-millennial material culture amongst others. How much is too much? What is value? What is the value of value-less-ness? It’s the hipster strategy of coolness – how uncool/ugly do you have to be to cross back over to cool/beauty? What is important now? The work is fun and literally funny. You can’t help but chuckle aloud while browsing through the objects. Particularly In Here Is a Fart and a Pearl, 2011 and Pendant, 2011 (“I am envious….”). However, when you look at the body of work together, something more sinister surfaces – excess, gluttony, displacement and loss. Walker’s work acts as a mirror. Showing us a snapshot of ourselves, our cultural situation, our shift in emotional and mental priorities.
Every piece is a question. “Is this jewelry? What about this? And this? And THIS?” It is a constant bombardment. And the result of Walker’s search is inclusive. Anything seems possible.
Cobra Museum of Modern Art
October 15, 2011 – December 11, 2011
October 15, 2011 to November 26, 2011
Kerianne Quick is an American materialsmith and researcher currently living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She writes about jewelery, craft and culture for Art Jewelry Forum.
 2010 Françoise van den Bosch Prize awards ceremony jury speech. Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Oct. 14, 2011
 Lisa Walker Wearable, from an interview with Melissa Young, Auckland, 2009
 Email interview October 26, 2011
 Lisa Walker Wearable, 62