06/21/2009

It is said that Arctic peoples have one hundred words for snow. There could easily be that many words to describe the gold jewelry in Masters: Gold: Major Works by Leading Artists. At first glance the 40 featured jewelers have little to connect them, other than their extraordinary facility with the precious material. Internationally known artists such as Wendy Ramshaw and Bruno Martinazzi are rightfully included, but there are many pleasant surprises as well that make this book well worth looking for.

Young talented newcomers like Mary Preston (an AJF award winner), Seung-Hea Lee and Andrew Lamb show that gold can still be worked in new and exciting ways. Although many names are familiar it still good to be reminded why Michael Becker and Jacqueline Ryan are so respected. The diversity of art jewelry is what makes Masters: Gold interesting. Giovanni Corvaja’s mind-blowing technique with fine wires is followed by Giampaolo Babetto’s bold and colorful constructions. Gerda Flockinger’s organic encrusted forms are a strong contrast to the rigorous fabrications of Abrasha and David Watkins. The photographs are mostly good, large and beautiful. There is a short introduction to each artist by Nanz Aalundis and each is represented with several images with descriptions.

I do have a problem with the graphic design of the pages with the unnecessarily fussy backgrounds. They detract from the jewelry in the otherwise straightforward design of the book. A few of the choices of jewelers are puzzling. But generally a very worthwhile book. Selected by Marthe Le Van, Masters: Gold: Major Works by Leading Artists is a welcome addition to your library.