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Deconstructed – Reconstructed

Exhibition  /  19 May 2007  -  03 Jun 2007
Published: 13.06.2007
Galeria Shibuichi
Management:
Isabel Sequeira
Norman Cherry. Brooch: Untitled, 2006. Lightly textured and oxidised silver with gold. Norman Cherry
Brooch: Untitled, 2006
Lightly textured and oxidised silver with gold
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
The nucleus of this collection is the result of a short residency spent in July 2006 at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, USA.

Artist list

Norman Cherry

The nucleus of this collection is the result of a short residency spent in July 2006 at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, USA. The terms of this were that I should teach one specialist workshop and then use the college facilities to undertake my own personal research. No specific outcomes were demanded and thus I was able to spend a concentrated period of time in the studio with no pressure to produce any particular artworks. There were six other artists undertaking residencies in Drawing, Textiles, Furniture, and Book Arts. Three of us shared a house and we spent time discussing our own and others’ work, exchanged our experiences of life, our inspirations, and of course our varied reactions to this very different environment in which we each found ourselves. We talked about our everyday activities – our “day jobs” – and the relationships of these to our creative output. As my day job involves running a busy, compact, inner city campus which educates around 500 students and is part of a university of well over 20,000 students, the experience of working in a small college catering for about 200 students situated in a five hectare suburban orchard was an alien – and very positive – experience.
It provided me with the opportunity for visual research and creation without any of the normal constraints of time or other quotidian pressures. Surely enough, a collection of objects did emerge in due course but the extra time for reflection and experimentation was crucial in its creation.
I think it is true to say that, generally speaking, successive collections grow out of each other in an almost organic way, in as much as new ideas often arise out of earlier activities. 

In the catalogue of my last solo exhibition, The Space Within, I referred to that which is unknowable, the space inside a closed or nearly closed form. Even the maker cannot know exactly what the inside of the lovingly created form is actually like.
So in Portland I found myself with time to ponder further on this conundrum and decided that, having spent several days making some basic shell forms, it would be interesting to bisect one of them and consider further deconstruction of others, depending on what I found.
Initially this was a purely intuitive and empirical procedure, with drawing only being used to record some of the results. As there was no imperative to make any “thing” I was free to spend time looking, thinking, dreaming. Once some of these shells had been rendered into several components, I had freedom to juxtapose and compose new forms as I saw fit. Some of these loose compositions were recorded in my drawing book and photographed, and that of course led to new drawings, some of which ultimately became designs for new objects. But generally this reconstruction of component parts was done intuitively and freely in the studio, using them almost as pieces of a puzzle which itself had still to be designed. 

The initial result was a group of jewellery and objects which were shown in the biennial Artists in Residence exhibition at OCAC’s Hoffman Gallery in October 2006. This was created during the three months immediately following the residency, a period when the initial experimental forms were consolidated and developed into specific outcomes. The later pieces which with that group comprise this exhibition were very much informed by that period. I became particularly engaged by the relationship between asymmetry and balance, how visual instability and tension can create their own harmony. At the same time, I strove to achieve a degree of visual simplicity, avoiding clutter and unnecessary detail. This led me to combine less complex shallow pressed forms with the deconstructed elements. 

Most of the pieces are constructed principally from Standard and Britannia Silver, heavily textured and oxidised to varying degrees. Normally I allowed the chemical process to be carried through to completion, turning the silver totally black. Some of the objects looked most effective left this intense black, while others benefited by slow and careful stripping back of the oxidation to varying shades of grey, depending on how well this showed off the individual form, surface texture and, in some cases, the contrasting 18 carat gold elements. I had intended that all of them should have a very tactile quality and should encourage the viewer to want to touch rather than stand back to admire or criticise from a distance. The collection is for people who wish to indulge that basic human haptic instinct and are not discouraged from doing so because the object of desire is of a personal nature. 

This exhibition is a discrete project in itself: an exploration of deconstruction and reconstruction, the creation of jewellery and objects several of which develop new composite and recombinant forms with various finishes, colours, and surface textures. Nevertheless, it is one at least partly informed by previous projects, by an accretion of underlying layers of knowledge and experience. I have no doubt, as I already begin to explore other new themes, that future collections will at least to some extent be further branches of that family of ideas
already established and flourishing.

Norman Cherry. Brooch: Untitled, 2006. Textured and lightly oxidised silver with gold grains. Norman Cherry
Brooch: Untitled, 2006
Textured and lightly oxidised silver with gold grains
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Norman Cherry. Pendant: Untitled, 2006. Textured and oxidised silver with partial gold sgaffito. Norman Cherry
Pendant: Untitled, 2006
Textured and oxidised silver with partial gold sgaffito
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Norman Cherry. Ring: Untitled, 2006. Textured and lightly oxidised silver with gold grains. Norman Cherry
Ring: Untitled, 2006
Textured and lightly oxidised silver with gold grains
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Norman Cherry. Brooch: Untitled, 2006. Textured and oxidised silver with gold sgraffito. Norman Cherry
Brooch: Untitled, 2006
Textured and oxidised silver with gold sgraffito
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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