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Wildstone by Helen Britton

Exhibition  /  08 Oct 2016  -  13 Nov 2016
Published: 07.10.2016
Helen Britton. Brooch: Untitled, 2016. Silver, German lapis. 11 × 7 × 1.5 cm. Helen Britton
Brooch: Untitled, 2016
Silver, German lapis
11 × 7 × 1.5 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Helen Britton is a traveler and collector, forever gathering tangible bits of experience and memories as she moves through the world. Her new body of work traces these bits to Idar-Oberstein, a German town once world famous for its gemstones and jewelry industry.

Artist list

Helen Britton
Idar was a place of global exchange, where raw stones came to be processed and where small factories sent off finished jewelry to the Victorian marketplace. This history has long fascinated Britton and while an artist-in-residence of the Jakob Bengel Foundation in the autumn of 2014, she delved deep into the remnants of this once bustling town and followed the fading paths of stones from her native Australia to Idar and back again.Britton’s work physically joins the stones she has saved, carried, and collected from her native Australia to Idar-Obertein, and to all the places in between. Carefully piecing together these materials, Britton builds a connection between disparate threads and begins to tell a new story. "Britton binds together distant lands, oceans, shipyards, industries, people and hundreds, sometimes thousands of years,” writes gallery owner Sienna Patti. Yet, “One isn’t required to understand the backstory to each stone, every pattern or part, in order to be drawn into the work, to want hold it close to the skin, to turn it around and hold it to the light."

There is a constructivist bent in the work of Helen Britton. Like the modernist dictum of “truth to materials”, Britton believes that materials have specific capacities and therefore specific uses, and that the material dictates the form the artwork takes. It is her search for this truth that has driven her most recent body of work, Wildstone. But it is also what has led her away from a traditional constructivist inquiry. For Britton, the veracity is found in the anthropological narrative of the material: the journey it has taken before it arrived in her hands; the chronicle created by human touch and interaction that forms the tale. If every material, each stone, carries a story through time, then Britton’s task is an awesome one. The trajectory of the material draws the map. This map binds together distant lands, oceans, shipyards, industries, people, and hundreds or some- times thousands of years. “The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos,” says film- maker and storyteller Hayao Miyazaki. In Britton’s jewelry, the chaos stops for a moment as the fragments are given form.

Painter Helen Frankenthaler wrote of her Color Field works that “A good picture looks as if it’s happened at once.” And so it is with the jewelry in Wildstone. It isn’t necessary to understand the backstory to each stone, every pattern or part, in order to be drawn into the work, to want to hold it close to the skin, to turn it around and hold it to the light. The pieces are immediate. Large flat stones are naked and left alive, revealing in their own natural beauty. Collages of shapes and colors are set in forms that take their cue from the photo- graphic essay contained in this book - softened, one imagines, by the same waves that some of the stones rode in on.

Helen Britton is a storyteller and it is only fItting that she has followed the myths of these stones. Her modes of assemblage are abstract and allegorical, yet the humanity behind the chosen materials is concrete and intensely physical. It is in the marrying of these things that she creates her poetry, her prose, and her epic. We are fortunate enough to be here for that moment.  / Sienna Patti, 2016 excerpt from Wildstone catalogue


 

Opening

Artist reception Saturday, October 8,  4 - 6 pm
Helen Britton. Brooch: Untitled, 2016. Silver, German lapis. 11 × 7 × 1.5 cm. on model. Helen Britton
Brooch: Untitled, 2016
Silver, German lapis
11 × 7 × 1.5 cm

on model

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Helen Britton. Ring: Untitled, 2016. Silver, treated Australian opal. 5 × 4 cm. Helen Britton
Ring: Untitled, 2016
Silver, treated Australian opal
5 × 4 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Helen Britton. Necklace: Untitled, 2016. Silver, Australian opal matrix. 45.7 cm. on model. Helen Britton
Necklace: Untitled, 2016
Silver, Australian opal matrix
45.7 cm

on model

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Helen Britton. Necklace: Untitled, 2016. Silver, Australian opal matrix. 45.7 cm. Helen Britton
Necklace: Untitled, 2016
Silver, Australian opal matrix
45.7 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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