Zoe Brand is excited to be in her final semester of Honours in the Gold and Silver smithing Workshop at the Australian National University. For the past 10 years her life has revolved around jewellery and art as a maker, curator and commentator. Now she is poised to showcase the culmination of these skills that she has been honing in her most recent works. She physically incorporates words and wit into carefully crafted objects drawing together her skills in making, curating and writing to illicit a response that challenges the perception of both jewellery and art.
Zoe is brimming with ideas on how jewellery as art may be perceived, believing there are alternative ways of presenting what jewellery can be. She is keen to dismantle the notion of jewellery as a purely decorative adornment for the body. Can one be a maker of jewellery that does not adorn the body? Can one wear art as jewellery whilst maintaining the intention that it is art foremost? These are questions Zoe ponders as she pushes to place herself as an artist and jewellery maker. Can she be both she wonders?
A second aspect to Zoe’s art making is the use of text within her works. She is interested in how the everyday words and phrases she selects may be interpreted and reactions they may bring. The ambiguity brought to meaning when words are placed within a work of art or an item of jewellery pleases her. She is interested in how text used within the realm of jewellery and art together may be perceived. Further to that, she is interested in using the skill and language of jewellery making in developing artwork that uses text as principle means of communication.
It is important to Zoe that it is the words that first catch the viewer’s attention. Then material and context provide added meaning and, or ambiguity to the object hopefully garnering a viewer response. Zoe is just looking for a smile to begin with; any further engagement is a bonus.
The colour palette Zoe uses is limited. Common held associations with colour add more complexity to the interpretation of her work than she is yet ready to tackle. At present it is the words and the object into which they are incorporated that are most important to Zoe.
Zoe hand cuts the text in her work. She likes the handmade aesthetic that comes from this; slightly crooked, off-centre. She also likes the limitations this brings to the size of the objects she makes. Like with colour, she feels the introduction of machine cutting into her work adds another dimension she is not yet ready to address.
Where the object is destined for display is something Zoe continues to experiment with. It is not necessarily bound for the body. Zoe has begun to test how she may affect personal interaction with her works and has been dabbling in performance art. The outcome of her latest event is still to unfold.
The culmination of the years of study and participation within the world of jewellery and art drive the conceptual thinking behind the objects Zoe makes. She wants to share her view of the world via text and jewellery presented as art objects. Zoe has no wish to be confined to the labels of jeweller, writer or curator hoping all three can co-exist within her practice and give greater meaning to her work. The label of conceptual contemporary jewellery maker sums up in order of importance the description Zoe sees as most applicable to her art, but that it is art that she is making first and foremost.