T J McNamara
..."The other exhibition, called Retrospect, is a contemporary jewellery show curated by Jo Mears. This work is not by manufacturing jewellers. All the participants are fine arts graduates into individual expression.
Jewellery seems to have replaced the pottery movement that dominated New Zealand craft last century. As the pottery movement developed it was prone to tend to ceramic sculpture. The essential vessel quality that is the basic characteristic of good pottery was smothered. Here the function of jewellery being next to the skin is often lost as the work is made to hang on a wall or remain static.
The exhibition is strongly influenced by Wellington-based jeweller Peter Deckers. A huge cabinet involving 64 lenses that magnify pieces of his jewellery within the case is the centre of the show. The jewels include a large silver hand-hammered nail and details from The Night Watch impressed on a spoon. Deckers, who spoke at the opening of the exhibition, emphasised that jewellery is often associated with gifting which he said was a "primal urge" and the gift must have value; a gift must be in some way precious.
In this craft jewellery, the value often lies not in precious stones or valuable metal but in originality and imagination.
The materials range from circuit boards, with their glittering electronic detail, to rabbit excrement, baked and varnished to look like jet. Something like a conventional necklace called Noisy Blob Strings by Sharon Fitness is colourful plastic and incorporates ipods and earphones. The transformative power of imagination and skill is best seen in the exquisite fan shapes made of silver and takeaway containers by Kristin D'Agostino.
The range of effects has something to please everybody, whatever theory they embrace."