“The oldest gem in the world, that at one time was thought by ancient Greeks to have been formed by the gods tears, is the pearl. Out of the Shell a current exhibit at the University of Akron’s Folk Hall, in the Emily Davis gallery, examines what happens when 17 different artists from 10 different countries are asked to re-interpret the concept of this gem in jewelry form.””
The oldest gem in the world, that at one time was thought by ancient Greeks to have been formed by the gods tears, is the pearl.
Out of the Shell a current exhibit at the University of Akron’s Folk Hall, in the Emily Davis gallery, examines what happens when 17 different artists from 10 different countries are asked to re-interpret the concept of this gem in jewelry form.
The artists took the pearl and addressed it from a historical, cultural or material perspective. Each of the works carries its own unique feel.
Most of the pieces don’t look like conventional jewelry that is worn; they have more of an artistic flair.
One piece that demonstrates this is the Ladies Portraits 1. Created in 2008 by Meiri Ishida of Japan. This brooch isn’t a run-of-the-mill type. With a unique shape, this gray felt brooch has five holes in it. Each of the holes has vibrant color layers that extend beneath the gray outer-layer. In three of the holes a pearl is placed. This represents the pearls beauty against the dull exterior.
I think that true elegance and beauty comes from deep inside people. It’s like the brightness of the pearls, Ishida said in the Out of the Shell program guide.
Another piece where the colors seem to pop, is an untitled brooch by Maru Almeida of the United States.
In this piece Almeida utilizes coral, wool, pearls and silver 925. On top of bright red coral sits two cylinder shapes made out of wool. One is white and hollow with many holes throughout it. The second, and smaller green one, has pearls that are securely nestled on it.
With these brooches, I longed to create a surrogate place for the pearls, an imaginary scenario where they can be cradled or offered for a new havest, Almeida said in the program guide.
The artists not only used actual pearls to represent the concept of the pearl, some choose to use materials such as plastic, rubber, felt, adhesive tape or silk threading to render their pearl.
Sofia Calderwood of the United States created her piece this way.
Calderwood got the idea for her piece Green Lustre Ring from the way pearls are formed layer by layer around the nucleus and how they are an irritant to the oyster.
With this idea she began to layer and fuse plastic bags together which she says are an irritant in their ubiquity and permanence.
The oval green ring has a pearly luster and is layered around a silver center piece.
Another artist that took this route is Karl Fritsch of Germany.
He constructed a ring. For the pearl of the ring he used black plastic. Placed in the plastic is an aquamarine stone. The actual ring is gold.
These are only a few of the wonderful pieces this exhibit offers.
Out of the Shell was curated by Sherry Simms, an Associate Professor of Art at UA and Sayumi Yokouchi who currently owns a studio resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.
This exhibit will be on display now until Oct. 8. On Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. in Folk Hall Auditorium, Simms and Yokouchi will give a free speech. A reception will follow.