American artist and jeweler Steven KP’s practice is focused on queer experience, empathy, and material culture. Queer bodies, KP states, are often forced to “pass,” considered the “other,” and are, therefore, undesirable. His powerful, yet elegant, jewelry may be interpreted as metaphors for this lived experience.
Partially Undone Knots is a series of pendants and brooches carved from dark-hued wood, which read as linear gestures fixed in space; nonetheless, their slowly evolving rigidity—realized through the very act of their creation—places them in visual limbo between the tightly bound and loosely undone. The nature of wood and its inherent “wounds,” along with the process of removal and refinement, can be interpreted as symbolic of the ongoing trauma of living in a society that disavows one’s authentic self if one is not conventional. The works hold nothing in place except their own existence, but they will never unravel. KP states that they are purposefully granted that allowance and power to remain unresolved. And since they are perpetually in flux, both by handling and movement through the act of wearing, the ongoing relationship with the jewelry illustrates how one may counter alienation and foster connection by welcoming these multivalent aspects of their presence, as well as by appreciating the tenderness of their hands-on construction.
KP received a BFA in Art Metals and Print Media from University of Wisconsin, Madison (2017) and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Metalsmithing and Jewelry (2020). He is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Jewelry and Metalsmithing at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA. He has been included in several group exhibitions, including Talente 2021 (Munich, DE); in 2020 his work was seen in the Marzee International Graduate Show (Nijmegen, NL) and “SO MINT! bundles and blanks and binds and bends, Steven KP,” Current Obsession Magazine. KP was the recipient of the Marzee Prize 2020, Gallery Marzee, Nijmegen, NL; two Windgate Foundation Scholarships, Rhode Island School of Design (2019 and 2020) and a 2017 Windgate Fellowship, Center for Craft, Ashville, NC.