Kiff Slemmons / Huesos

Exhibition: Feb. 7 – Mar. 6, 2012
Artist Reception: Sat. Feb. 11, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tufted Melons. Neckpiece, cotton agave handmade paper. Oaxaca, Mexico. 2010-2011

Kiff Slemmons spent ten years collaborating with the artisans of Arte Papel in Oaxaca, Mexico. The result is a collection of paper jewelry which is highly sculptural and utilizes indigenous plants, fibers, natural and synthetic dyes.

The work emerged from Slemmons’ art residences at Arte Papel Oaxaca where work was done by the artist and members of the atelier. Early pieces referenced African jewelry with discs built up into sculptural bead forms. Later pieces exhibit the techniques of folding, cutting, hollow punching, rolled and formed paper pulp. The atelier is dedicated to “reviving the pre-Columbian tradition of making paper from natural fibers”.

“Talking about paper in Oaxaca involves countering assumptions about the material, its fragility vs. strength, the metaphoric implications of paper in this regard, in relation to books and the culture at large,” says the artist. What paper meant in pre-contact culture in Mexico, its magnified significance after conquest, its current place in culture today, ours and theirs. How I came to work as I did there means looking at my previous work, how it might have led to such a project which involves a kind of world view through jewelry and writing. “ 

She continues, “My work is really not technique determined, even with the paper. It’s ideas that interest me first. And the possibility of being poetic in a visual language. “

Kiff Slemmons is a self-taught metalsmith, who has exhibited nationally and internationally for over thirty years. She studied French and art at the University of Iowa and the Sorbonne in Paris. In 2000, she had a midcareer exhibition, The Thought of Things: Jewelry by Kiff Slemmons at the Palo Alto Art Center, California. Her work can be found in numerous museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Exhibition: Feb. 7 – Mar. 6, 2012

Artist Reception:
Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 7-9pm.

Artist Lecture:
Tues. Feb. 7, 2012 7pm. 
92nd St. Y
1395 Lexington Ave, NYC
(between 91st St & 92nd St)

by exhibition