The Glean

Contemporary jewellery and other stuff: Richard Scowen, Kelly O'Shea and Shagpile. None Gallery
Upon entering None last Friday night, one encountered a diverse variety of work by The Glean. Kelly O’Shea’s pieces largely consisted of found objects such as stones and branches - a subversion of snobbish “High Art” and expensive mass-produced jewellery. The theme of nature vs. consumerism also ran throughout her work, particularly her necklaces with branches attached to them, a single splash of bright paint placed on each, evocative of the vivid colours found in Pop Art and advertising. Shagpile’s work played with the idea of “parasites [clinging] to the body (just like jewellery does)”. This was evident in his brooches and hair clips as well as his “worm” necklace. The intricacy of this work was interesting - playful, intimate and charming, the worm necklace being especially beautiful. Some of the jewellery was, however, limited, e.g. the pink brooch with the googly eyes stuck on it.

Richard Scowen’s installations were an altogether more abstract take on the concept of jewellery. Where O’Shea and Shagpile’s work was more literal, Scowen’s added another dimension to the exhibition, experimenting as it did with the theme of jewellery. His commentary on blood diamonds via glass arranged on the floor (the idea being “I would rather walk on broken glass than buy blood diamonds”) was not particularly effective. It was also difficult to see how his piece “Memory” related to jewellery. But his “Pear of hearings” poem contained some beautiful imagery and his broken bridge piece translated both the beauty and tragedy of break-ups (both romantic and platonic) in a playful yet poignant way. As he typed up the poem or drew the diamond on his ring of light, his activity drew you in and created a kind of involvement which subverted the High Art culture which so values a finished product with a price tag.

The arrangement of the gallery was effective, particularly the jewellery displayed on suspended white circles. The more I explored, the more I realised how dense the exhibition was, with a surprisingly large amount of work contained in this seemingly small space. Over all this cohesive and yet diverse body of work was whimsical, beautiful and slightly subversive, thereby suiting the context of None Gallery.

Posted 2:45am Monday 21st March 2011 by Kari Schmidt.