Sunday, August 5, 2012

Carlier Makigawa: Contained: Defining Space

Carlier Makigawa: Contained: Defining Space
2011Brooch Blackened Silver, Coral 50cm wide

At Bilk, Palmerston Lane, Manuka, until August 18, 2012.  Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 5pm.

Carlier Makigawa, who lives and works in Melbourne, is one of Australia’s leading silversmiths and jewellers.  This is her first solo show in Canberra, although she is known nationally and internationally.

A consistent theme in Carlier’s work is the frame: the volume it creates and is contained by it.  Whether the pieces are necklaces, bangles, rings or small table sculptures, they appear as three dimensional line drawings in space.  Many contain nothing but hint at the possibility.  They are full of form and feeling and have a fragile appearance.

2012 Necklace 2012, sterling silver 24cm
Small, pod-like forms are clustered – often seemingly unbalanced – to form the jewellery.  These elements are based on gum nuts, seed pods and other flora from Western Australia, where the artist was born and trained.  Other works are more angular and are joined to form more geometrical objects.

Makigawa uses silver – often blackened – and frequently combines this precious metal with polished coral twigs which add colour and contrast, attracting the viewer’s eye. 

A loosely circular blackened silver brooch is punctuated around its uneven circle with small pieces of red polished choral, projecting from the apertures of the pods.  A similar work in matt silver holds pale, creamy pink pieces of choral. 
The angular frames of two brooches titled Nature and Structure contain larger branches of pale choral and appear to be constructed around them.  On one or two brooches, one or two elements are painted with bright colours, highlighting the volume.

Three bracelets, one in matt silver, one in blackened silver and one incorporating both colours, lightly circle the wrist.  While they appear to be fragile, they are strong.

Two blackened silver necklaces are made from straighter, slightly longer elements, linked together.  These sit comfortably around the neck and move gently as the wearer moves.  A matt silver necklace is slightly shorter, sitting higher on the wearer.  The simplicity belies the detailed construction process used by Makigawa.

Carlier Makigawa 2012 Brooch Blackened Silver, Coral

In addition to the jewellery, the artist is showing three small table sculptures.  The elements are angular and blackened silver frames sit inside matt silver frames.  They too hint at what might be contained.  The shadows cast by strong lighting add a fourth dimension to the whole. 

©  Meredith Hinchliffe
August 4, 2012