• Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery (map)
  • 813 Broadway Avenue
  • Saskatoon, SK, S7N 1B5
  • Canada

Friday, December 2, 2016: 7:00-9:00pm

Thursday, December 8, 2016: 7:00-9:00pm

Three individual artists pushing the borders of conventional jewellery:  Mary Lynn Podiluk, Jenny-Lyn Fife and Joan Thomson. Experimenting, discovering and creating art in the form of unique, contemporary jewellery. Curated by award-winning metal artist Tom Ferrero.

The group uses three elements — colour, natural forms, and contrasts — to explore the concept of “Triad.” Jenny-Lyn Fife’s jewellery is architectural and organic, incorporating unique combinations of textile and metal. Mary Lynn Podiluk fuses resin and precious metals, creating evocative shapes. Joan Thomson connects personal memories to the wearer, creating works in silver and gold.

Visitors to the SCC Gallery will see jewellery in a new context. “[We’ve] come together to [talk] about contemporary art jewellery as a viable and imaginative means of artistic expression… With this work we have pushed ourselves to break some of the conventional boundaries that jewellery is commonly known for.”

Fife, Podiluk, and Thomson have been supported by the Independent Artist Program of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. The grant has enabled these exceptional jewellery artists to experiment with new ideas and materials as each looks to expand her art practice.

Artist Interviews

An interview with artists Mary Lynn Podiluk, Jenny-Lyn Fife, and Joan Thomson about their group exhibition of art jewellery "Triadica." The exhibition was on display at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery in Saskatoon, SK from November 25, 2016 to January 7, 2017.
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Curatorial Statement

When most people think of jewellery they often imagine a gold ring, a pair of stud earrings or a delicate necklace chain. However, our understanding of modern jewellery is a learned definition, shaped by culture, media and corporations. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Modern jewellery is available to more people now through mass production and limited production runs but this ubiquity comes at a cost… It’s not very memorable. We want to stand out while still fitting in; sacrificing originality and the creative potential this art form has to offer. Jewellery is seeing a resurgence. It’s evolving; pulling itself out of stagnation and thrusting itself back up onto creative ground. Like any art form, the material from which something is made is just the vehicle for artistic expression. Because jewellery straddles the line between the world of commercial consumer product and the world of fine art it can struggle to be seen for the art form it is. It is exhibitions like this and people like you, who will change that.

This body of work, by these three artists; Mary Lynn Podiluk, Jenny-Lyn Fife and Joan Thomson, testifies to hundreds of hours of research, planning, experimentation, success and failures. The result: something dynamic, fresh and original. The title: “Triadica” uses the prefix “tri,” meaning “three.” It also references a triadic colour scheme, which is represented by three equally spaced colours around a colour wheel. Together these artists investigate the alluring element of “colour” and apply it to themes each one is exploring.

Mary Lynn Podiluk’s work is sensual and enthralling. Her fascination with language, speech and the nondescript sounds the body can make is used as a starting point in her work. Employing a viscous, synthetic resin that can be dyed vibrant colours and incorporating plant based found objects, she works intuitively, making molds, casting forms, manipulating those forms and combining them with handmade metallic parts. The result is a body of work that feels at times industrial and at others, biological, while all the time feeling slightly alien. Podiluk’s silver and gold components are crisp, polished and often textured with a cryptic arrangement of letters making the work feel futuristic and otherworldly. Her resin, silicone and found object forms reference ribbons of cartilage, tiny bones, glandular clusters and amphibian like air sacks laced with veins. These anatomical forms juxtaposed with the metal elements can be slightly off-putting but it is precisely this tension that makes her work so captivating.

The work of Jenny-Lyn Fife brings to mind images of Moorish architecture through the lacy armatures of her works titled Arches, Vaulted and Petals. Furthermore, the influence of Hellenistic jewellery with its ornate clusters of golden droplets can be found in Fife’s strand of silver and gold carapaces punctuated by black pearls as seen in the piece, Hover. But Fife’s work is not a reproduction of these ancient cultures; it is a riff on these ancient cultures with a distinctly contemporary spin. Fife’s work is inspired by nature and her time spent in it. Her art is driven by her investigation of the natural world and her quest to determine precisely why it occupies so much of her imagination. Glimmers of flora and fauna reach out to the viewer but are controlled and quieted by the work’s precision. By superimposing these elements onto her meticulously crafted jewellery using repetition and pattern, Fife establishes order and creates work that reflects our humanity. She uses traditional materials such as silver, copper and gold while also incorporating contemporary mediums such as vibrantly coloured linen thread, which look like growths of lichen or dew bearing tendrils of old man’s beard. Like nature, the purity of her work is soothing but it is Fife’s propensity for design that sets her apart.

Joan Thomson’s work is deeply personal. Interweaving private stories, relationships and memories with historical legends. Her work is whimsical, stylized and lavishly intricate: A necklace with a mischievous squirrel running off to his stash of stolen acorns. A thrashing, serpentine whale with an opal in its maw. Thomson’s work could stand on appearances alone, wooing the viewer with its sumptuous surfaces, playful lines and luxuriant colour, but it’s when one takes a more investigatory approach that one can truly appreciate its narrative underpinnings. In her piece entitled, Thai Opal, we see a simplified teal and cobalt forget-me-not flower (an emblem of the Alzheimer’s Society) trimmed in gold and set with a velvety orange, Thai opal at its center. The opal came to represent the artist’s son who had an affinity for collecting rocks and who was away in Australia while the flower took the place of her mother who was suffering from dementia and slowly slipping away. By creating work about people close to her, Thomson keeps them safe in her mind and by extension, surrounds them with her protection. Thomson writes, “We find commonality and community in stories when we share them.” This is certainly true of anyone who has watched this disease ravage a loved one or worried about the well-being of someone dear to them when they were far away. Not all of Thomson’s work is as emotionally heavy as this piece but each is a carefully crafted souvenir of the artist’s life.

Whether you experience a visceral reaction to Mary Lynn Podiluk’s elegant, anatomical creations, respond to the regal elegance and entomological connections of Jenny-Lyn Fife’s pieces or are captivated by the saturated hues and emotive nature of Joan Thomson’s enamel works, these three artists have put forth an exhibition of critical acclaim. They have bound together their art through their expressive use of colour and have produced a show of contemporary metalwork that is both innovative and approachable. An example of fine art jewellery at its best.
— Tom Ferrero - Triadica Exhibition Curator

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