10 – 25 July 2015
Choice Mate, an installation covering the gallery floor with thousands of small objects. They look like rocks. Almost. But not quite.
Inspired by a month-long residency in Hill End, NSW, I have created a miniature landscape made from ‘wax effigies’ of real rocks: discarded remnants of the town’s gold mining past. This phrase evokes the melancholic tang of loss. As well it should, for Choice Mate is a kind of memorial. And like all good memorials it serves as a trigger of contemplation as well as commemoration.
Made primarily from beeswax, the ‘rocks’ are coloured with both earthy ochres and artificial pigments. There is something just a little unsettling about the colour; something not quite right. I don’t want my objects to be mistaken for the real thing. The deliberately heightened colours point to the fact that my landscape is human-made. This microcosm is an invitation to consider the impact our interventions have on the larger environment.
While at Hill End, I walked a lot. I became aware of how every inch of soil beneath me had been turned over by human hands; crushed and eroded in search of treasure. I discovered that what appeared to be ‘natural’ was actually the result of choices made: the decision to delve into the earth in search of gold, the choice to destroy one thing of beauty in exchange for the chance of finding another.
Choice Mate offers visitors this same conundrum. Each of the rocks may (or may not) contain some genuine gold. Visitors may decide to ‘mine’ the work, stake a claim and take a piece home. In doing this they will leave an indelible mark on this carefully constructed landscape, destroying its original form. Or not. They may instead decide to leave the landscape intact. In this way, Choice Mate is a gentle reminder that all of our choices, no matter how small, have repercussions.
Bridget Kennedy © 2015
Bridget Kennedy is an Australian contemporary jewellery artist currently living and working in Sydney. The use of diverse, non-precious and organic materials with traditionally precious materials in her exhibition work continues an ongoing enquiry into environmental fragility, impermanence, social expectations, values and beliefs. An emphasis on materials and exploration allows the physical act of making to partly drive the outcome. Bridget’s formative years of early childhood were spent in Fiji and the South Pacific. With cultural ties to the Philippines through her life partner, these cultural influences and exchanges have informed her practice.
In 2008, she opened Studio 20/17, a contemporary jewellery gallery with fellow jeweller Melanie Ihnen. The gallery is committed to increasing the profile of contemporary jewellery within the wider arts arena.
Opening night proudly sponsored by
This exhibition is timed to coincide with the Jewellers and Metalsmiths (JMGA) Conference, EdgesBordersGaps, 10-12 July 2015.