Evert Nijland | Wings
Gallery Loupe is honored to present Dutch artist Evert Nijland’s extraordinary new series, Wings. The culmination of several years of arduous research and experimentation, the magnificent jewelry in Wings truly soars. The project was partially funded by the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, which acquired two works for its collection, along with developmental models displaying the incremental stages of each pieces’ technological evolution, that will serve as educational tools for visitors to the CODA-TechLAB.
Typically, Nijland draws inspiration from historical objects: architectural embellishments, sculptural motifs, domestic items, etc. For Wings he looked to medieval stained-glass windows from churches and cathedrals, as well as Renaissance and Baroque drawings and etchings, because he found these artists’ interpretations of wings to be particularly subtle and sensitive. For example, Nijland used two etchings by 17th century Flemish engraver Adriaan Collaert, from the collection of the Rijksmuseum, as models for the closed wings seen in several of his brooches and pendants; the bilateral wings from an allegorical drawing by Michelangelo are subsumed in a number of necklaces; and the central figure of an angel from “The Last Judgement,” a painting by Early Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden, is the focus of a brooch, Mirrored Wing.
Nijland, a master metalsmith, often enlists makers skilled in other mediums, whose technical prowess he requires to create the works. Wings is a dialogue between traditional handcraftsmanship and current digital technology. Consequently, the team gathered for this series was comprised of a young 3D computer graphics designer, Alan Nguyen who, Nijland felt, understood the importance of maintaining the original graphic “handwriting” regardless of his own advanced technological bent and, to that end, found software capable of producing Nijland’s desired shapes and reliefs, while leaving the “handwriting” intact down to its faintest cross-hatching. Nijland also recruited silver founder Steffan van Slooten, who cast the wings in silver from polyamide prototypes, and glass blower Edwin Dieperink, who hand-cut the glass triangles used in Mirrored Wing after they had been digitally water-cut, so that each piece would fit perfectly within the individual space reserved for it in the silver framework.
Although in the planning stages for some years prior, the series took root during the Covid-19 pandemic, at a time when Nijland’s original idea for covering digitally scanned wooden wings, from the Rijksmuseum’s collection, with historic drawings and etchings stalled after he was denied access to the objects due to health and safety restrictions. Perhaps this was fortuitous, as it gave Nijland time to seek alternative solutions for one of his primary goals, that of combining rigid, digitally-devised central forms with handmade elements that flow freely, thereby producing peripheral movement representing flight.
Everything Evert Nijland puts his mind and hand to is exceptional, but he has outdone himself with Wings, which represents jewelry artistry at its highest level of achievement materially, technically, and thematically. Informed by the past, the works reside in the present, but anticipate the future.
A 1995 graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, Nijland is the recipient of several international awards. He has been featured in many exhibitions, world-wide, and his work is in the collections of numerous international museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, Arnheim and CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands; Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim; Die Neue Sammlung, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Victoria & Albert Museum and Royal College of Art, London; Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough, United Kingdom; Musée des Arts Décoratifs de la Mode, Marseille, France; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Tacoma Glass Museum, Tacoma, Washington; and The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina.