With this series I was interested in exploring man's relationship to his industrialized world. By creating harsh mechanical-looking devices that were intended for the very intimate purpose of jewelry, I hoped that the audience would reflect on the environments that we construct and surround ourselves with. With "Improvised Medical Device A" (a size-able double banded ring), I was interested in creating a device that would mechanically restrict the movement of the wearer, causing a machine (albeit one controlled by the wearer) to take control over its creator, an action that happens unacknowledged everyday.
The power that objects hold, whether remembered or experienced physically, is
overwhelming and its constructed meaning never fixed. Objects from our daily lives
are reflections of us as well as extensions of the body; we make our material world
familiar through the use of such personal accouterments. I am interested in how
one’s self is shaped in relationship to ritual objects, domestic spaces, and everyday
activities through exploring their inherent meaning. Altering, abstracting, juxtaposing
one object with another, and stripping objects from their familiar context allows me to
create new meaning and the possibility of alternative interpretations for the viewer.
This work was a reaction against economic crisis in 2009
Urn and vase forms, fundamental in my work, serve as icons of continuity and as a reminder of the world of making and using. Vessels have been used as containers for grain, for wine, for the bodies of our dead. They symbolize collection and preservation, as well as ceremony and abundance. A simple cup promises nourishment, warmth, and comfort. This information is carried both physically and emotionally in our expectations of its very form.
These vessels were produced for a body of work entitled Hindsight. I present a series of vessels addressing significant moments from my life as they might have been. I call into question the nature of containment—whether a vessel might equally hold as its function a memory, a thought, or an emotion. Each vessel contains a specific moment, encapsulating it and making it manifest. What I view as the strange and wonderful thing about memory is the very personal way in which memory is transmuted by our desire, creating an experience tinged with ought instead of was.
Felted Vessel #2 is a piece that explores the relationship between structure and form. The intimate size and fuzzy qualities of the felted alpaca wool bring softness to the rigid cage-like framework and smooth planished lines. Through this combination I hope to invite the viewer to touch and use this pillow shaped vessel.
This form combines flesh and vegetable forms to create a vessel-like object. The interior is exposed through a vivid pink “gash” that is labeled so as to distinguish it from the exterior. This implies that the object is “full” rather than empty, a true vessel. In this context, the two spout-like forms become more like orifice than simple opening. A very kind friend said that this piece reminded them of a “fertility figure from The Simpson’s”, and I’ve always appreciated that very much.
The Penispoon is the Surrealist, altered object that embodies male sex drive and hunger drive. In "In the Morning", the Penispoon is concealed under the napkin to evoke the sense of mystery instead of confronting the viewer directly. Human desire underlies the mundane life even when we are not aware of it.
The wearable yet non-functional jewelry that I create constricts the wearer’s movements and allows both the viewer and the wearer to step into my place in this world. I use both humor and irony to create layers of meaning in my pieces and I strive for works to create a push-pull feeling between the viewer and the pieces simultaneously attracting and repelling their gaze. In my current work, I try to show how our experiences can consume and change us into something that we never knew we could be.
Half way Arcimboldo half way non practical, this piece is my way to celebrate my enthusiasm for making jewelry because no matter if it is a functional piece or not, what it really matters is a new opportunity for making it.
Jill Baker Gower
I originally intended the lures to be a metaphor for a sort of false preciousness. Over time, this idea has shifted to be less metaphorical (Although, someone really looking for concept, could read them as such.) to more of the idea of a finely crafted object representing a specific culture of a specific region; that region being the upper midwest. Glamorizing fishing? Not really. Glorifying the redneck? That's been done. In the finality of it all, I would say, it's how I feel I can relate to where it was I grew up - among the hunters, trappers, and fishermen.
About the curator:
Loring Taoka is an MFA candidate in the Metalsmithing and Jewelry program at the University of North Texas. His work has been shown in national and international shows and he was most recently a finalist in the Student NICHE Awards as well as an Honorable Mention in SNAG's Educational Endowment Scholarship.