Robert Baines / Perceptions
Robert Baines is both a jeweler and scholar. His astonishingly detailed metalwork reflects intensive study in archeometallurgy – the practices used by ancient Greek and Etruscan goldsmiths characterized by meticulous techniques such as fine linear wirework and granulation. Baines does not look backward, however. On the contrary, his purview is most contemporary. Although he produces jewels that lovingly speak of the past, flaunting the scale and grandeur of antiquity, they embody the irony of current aesthetics. With the utmost awe and respect, Baines riffs on classical forms and detailed methodology, often using historical data or notorious forgeries – sometimes with the addition of repurposed objects and/or applied color – as bases for his paradoxical statements. He firmly believes that contemporary jewelry cannot be free of the context it inhabits within the continuum of material culture. He aims to subvert the human drama through the vehicle of jewelry.
Perceptions is Robert Baines’ latest body of work. The exhibition by Gallery Loupe – elegantly installed at Heller Gallery – inaugurates the series. Although made using Baines’ laborious processes, the brooches, necklaces, and pendants that make up the twenty-five piece presentation specifically address the manner in which we view what we believe to be recognizable. Comprised of masklike imagery, the group of unique visages seem familiar, but we can’t help wonder, nonetheless: Are they human? Simian? Robotic? Something else? Some combination? None of the above? And, as the artist intends, everyone who looks upon them will see something different. Just as we lose a part of ourselves when a loved one dies or disappears, each individual persona is made up of the many facets that comprise our perception of others and theirs of us.
“Each knowing has its diverse place disclosing a different gesture, and revealing a multiplicity of familiarities while the dissimilar remains. Multiple vantage points offer up abstractions which signal linear structures capturing spaces. Color empowers line in predictable and unpredictable formations. There follows a sense of wonder, of recognition and a seeming knowing, but this is a distracting force. A likeness exists but from each angle there is a revelation of the unalike.These are distracting signals and though the jewellery is entertaining it is not the revelation of ‘one version of oneself’. This is to be pursued, to be looked for, and in the seeking there will be a first glimpse of the knowing and the jewellery transmission will be complete.”
Robert Baines, 2016
One of the most prominent contemporary goldsmiths in the world, Australian Robert Baines is the recipient of numerous international awards, among them the Bayerischer State Prize (2005) and Friedrich Becker Prize (2008) from Germany; the Herbert Hofmann Prize; and the Cicely and Colin Rigg Craft Award (1997), the richest craft prize in Australia.He holds a PhD from RMIT in Melbourne, where he is a professor of gold and silversmithing. In 2010, he was designated a Living Treasure: Master of Australian Craft. His work is in countless international museum collections, including National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Powerhouse Museum, Sidney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg;and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
Robert Baines / Perceptions Exhibition of New Work by Robert Baines Presented by Gallery Loupe at Heller Gallery, 303 10th Avenue, NYC
April 13-17, 2016
Thurs, Fri, Sat. 11-6
Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 6-8pm
The evening will include a conversation with Robert Baines and Glenn Adamson, former director, Museum of Arts and Design.
Robert Baines will be delivering the following lectures during his time in New York:
Enjoying the Crinkle and Crankle of Wire
Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 3 pm
640 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11238
The Historic Goldsmith Informing the Contemporary (Artisan Lecture Series)
Monday, April 18, 2016 at 6:30pm
The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York
20 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036