Luci Jockel | Lifting the Veil
Gallery Loupe is proud to present American artist Luci Jockel’s first solo exhibition, Lifting the Veil, a series of objects and jewelry that harbor a plea for sanity at a time when humans are systematically destroying our planet through blatant disregard for its fragile ecosystem. Jockel targets the existential threat to honey bees, mindful of how, by pollinating flora, they are essential to the cycle of life. She states: “Lifting the Veil serves as a ceremony to honor the honey bee…a martyr for our ecosystem—a symbol of the influence we have upon non-human counterparts and how we rely on these beings to keep our environment livable.”
To construct these works, Jockel devised a new medium—an amalgam of jewelry and textile—which she terms “bee wing lace.” Made from actual honeybee wings, this innovative material references the patterns and structures used in fabric lace and quilts. The Gold Veil, as well as other works in the series, additionally pay homage to the labor performed by honeybees. As a metaphor for their activity, Jockel assembled a human “hive,” comprised of family members and friends, to craft The Gold Veil. Just as in an actual bee hive, it took a mutually-reliant community of workers to achieve the end result.
Most works in the series feature bee wings. For a ring, Jockel filled a hollow sphere, fabricated from oxidized silver wire, with a three-dimensional formation of contiguous bee wings that appear to float freely within the space. She used a variety of organic substances in other works. Two wing-shaped bones (rabbit scapulae) are mounted symmetrically on black velvet ribbon to create a necklace recalling historical memento mori. Bringing to mind Georgian eye jewelry is The Lover’s Eye, a brooch consisting of a horizontal, oval-shaped slice of variegated black agate from which a bee wing encased within an optic quartz bead hangs from an elongated chain. Channeling more traditional jewelry formats are two pendants on oxidized silver chains displaying bee wings arranged in grid-like patterns within ovular frames, also of oxidized silver—one mounted on paper and the other sandwiched between transparent panels of glass crystal—and a rosary-like necklace of black onyx beads boasting five cast silver honeybees, along with bee wing lace mounted within a framed, glass crystal pendant, which dangles from below. Addressing the unusual techniques and multiple layers of meaning in her practice, Jockel says her “work lies on a spectrum between fragility/non-wearable to durable/wearable…living in a space between ephemeral and permanent, much like life and death.”
Luci Jockel received an MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design, in 2016, and BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Jewelry and Ceramics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in 2014. Since 2019, she has been Metalsmithing and Jewelry Lecturer/Area Coordinator at Towson University, Towson, MD. Although Lifting the Veil is her first solo exhibition, she has been featured in many group shows, including Artifactual Remakes, Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD (2021); Sisterhood: Bodies in Proximity, Emily Jockel and Luci Jockel, NYCJW, The Jewelry Library, New York, NY (2021); Insects, Galeria Alice Floriano, Porte Alegre-RS, Brazil (2018); Bees, Galerie Handwerk, Munich, Germany (2018); and Life, Death, and Rebirth, Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA (2018). Her work is included in the following public collections: RISD Museum, Providence, RI; ArtYard, Frenchtown, NJ; and Galerie Marzee, Nijmegan, the Netherlands.
–Toni Greenbaum, Brooklyn, New York, October 2023