26 July 2013

Thick Skinned

In situations where a relationship, sequence, or pattern is taken for granted it is only when change occurs that we are reminded that a pattern exists and what it is supposed to be.  The relationships between the objects we carry or wear, and our body, are examples of just such a relationship.  By breaking the received pattern, I draw attention to it.  I present objects that are almost familiar – familiar materials in unfamiliar forms - and by reordering the received pattern, I aim to question and re-present these relationships.  
Traditional jewellery is often made of metals and gemstones; hard, cold materials that need violent intervention in the form of heating, hammering, and drilling to construct the desirable shapes and forms.  Our bodies, and the skin and clothing that cover them, have very different qualities: flexible, not static; elastic rather than rigid.  To place an item of jewellery, that is a hard, inflexible form on a body or clothing that is in a constant state of movement is surely a mismatch?  
Thick Skinned is an investigation of this mismatch, and comprises a collection of once-wearable found objects.  Broken necklaces, half paired earrings and abandoned trinkets have been dipped and coated in a tinted, liquid plastic.  Although the plastic dries with some flexibility, the articulated jewellery forms are trapped in a new format and become fixed.  A dangly earring no longer dangles, as it is swaddled in its new plastic skin, reminiscent of a pupa.  The colour of this new coating directly acknowledges the relationship between the object and the skin, and begins to visually blur the distinction between them.   Cold, hard materials such as metal and acrylic feel warm to the touch with this new coating, while forms such as necklaces or chains, are reformed into pendants or drops.  
The works in Thick Skinned are presented in a way that hints at wearability, but closer inspection reveals that there is no obvious way of wearing these reworked forms.  There are no evident fixings, or specific ways to hang or connect these works to the body.  They can however be held, stroked, pocketed.  They no longer function as jewellery in the traditional sense, but instead have become forms, or bodies.

Thick Skinned Found object  © Vanda Campbell 2013
Thick Skinned, Found object, plastic, thread  © Vanda Campbell 2013

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