NZ Jewellers - Jason Hall, Alan Preston, Lisa Walker / 13 November - 12 December 2010

1839 Exchanges: Jewellery by Jason Hall

Since 1998 Jason Hall's jewellery has been asking questions about Pakeha identity. His work represents a consistent struggle to negotiate being Pakeha through an awareness of the traditions and craft of contemporary jewellery in Aotearoa.

1839 Exchanges: Jewellery by Jason Hall is an exhibition about jewellery, identity and cultural exchange explored through a series of amulets created for Frederick Edward Maning, an Irishman who arrived in Aotearoa in 1833 and became a trader. Maning is a well known Pakeha Maori, a term that refers to Europeans who lived as Maori in the early phase of colonisation. Maning, who initially advised Maori not to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, later became a land court judge in the 1860s, and a member of the European colonial gentry.

Most cultures have made use of the amulet, in which a part of what is feared (commonly a tooth or claw) is strung up and worn in order to ward off the object of fear. Hall's works draw a parallel between the amulet and the tension that sits at the heart of settler societies around the question of native and indigenous, and explores how settlers might construct a convincing claim of belonging to a land they have stolen.

Lisa Walker: Unwearable

Unwearable is a provocation. It matters when a jeweller chooses such a confrontational title for an exhibition of their work. What's the angle here? What is Lisa Walker's game?

If you are at all familiar with Walker's jewellery, you won't be surprised. The word ‘unwearable' suggests what all the best jewellery in this exhibition does when you consider putting it on. It is an aggressive challenge on a material, conceptual and sometimes even practical level that is consistently framed through jewellery history and the common denominator of wear - of function - that keeps jewellery ticking over.

Some of Walker's jewellery is pretty unwearable, but the fact that we keep asking ourselves what would happen if we put it on is important. That is the connection to jewellery that Walker holds as central to her practice.

From Between Tides: Jewellery by Alan Preston

The history of contemporary jewellery in Aotearoa New Zealand might be described as an object lesson in the marvellous materials that can be found between tides - the flotsam and jetsam of nature washed up on the sand, awaiting the patient and careful attention of the jeweller who will transform these materials in the studio.

Between Tides: Jewellery by Alan Preston is a survey of over thirty years work by one of this country's leading contemporary jewellers. A founder of Fingers, the Auckland jewellery co-operative, Preston played a key role in the developing use of natural materials that made New Zealand jewellery so notable in the 1980s.

From his 1970s jewellery, described as having an ‘appealing gypsy mystique', to his well-known achievements as part of the Bone Stone Shell movement, to his most recent jewellery using fibre and found materials, Between Tides tracks the ceaseless flow of creativity that informs Preston's jewellery, and ensures his place as a leading practitioner in the field today.