Ron Porter is a former board member of AJF and long-time, art-jewelry enthusiast.
No one tells a story quite like Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet. Each narrative is skillfully presented with just enough visual information to engage and please the 'reader.' Ultimately each work satisfies on its own merits, but always leaves the observer wanting just one more story from this talented duo, who seem to have an inexhaustible number of literary delights swimming in their collective heads, ready to become the next jewel.
Having been seduced by their work some 20 years ago, I was ecstatic to hear of a planned survey exhibition. I would be able to revisit old stories and discover new ones, all in one place. The production of a catalog would be the icing on the cake. Since a trip to the Designmuseo in Helsinki, Finland, was out of the question, I eagerly awaited news of a United States venue. To my disappointment, that has not materialized. The catalog for Symbiotic Realms would have to suffice. I’d have to settle for a book.
Initially getting the catalog was no small feat. It could be ordered only from the museum, in Euros, with a healthy dose of postage. It was a price I was willing to pay, however. The book is arranged chronologically with close-up photographs of varying quality. Some appear to have been subjected to software editing which tends to flatten the images; others are beautifully resolved. None truly disappoints. Each image is accompanied by a snippet of information, sometimes a summary of the story told and sometimes a description of why a particular piece had been made. I quite enjoyed this feature and felt that it added to my appreciation of the work.
To my surprise, however, there were very few, if any, old friends chosen to be in the exhibition. I have followed the work of Kranitzky and Overstreet with a zeal usually reserved for things other than narrative jewelry. I have seen much of their work, albeit many times in west coast venues. As happy as I am to be presented with 'new' pieces, I long again to see some familiar work and 'some that got away.' I miss the sense of balance that would have come with a more complete survey. So I am disappointed, not with what the monograph presents, but for what it doesn’t. It is an appetizer that begs for the entrée to complete the meal. Perhaps we will be fortunate enough to be treated to a catalogue raisonné someday. I surely hope so. Until then enjoy this installment. It will assuredly whet your appetite for more.