RMIT University's renowned gold and silver-smithing program has been showcased in an exhibition on contemporary jewellery in Padua, Italy.
RMIT Emeritus Professor Robert Baines and seven Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) alumni brought together more than 100 works that gave the Italian public the chance to observe first-hand the styles of Australian research gold and silver-smithing.
The exhibition at The Oratory of San Rocco was presented by the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Padua as Pensieri Preziosi 9.
It showcased the highly original jewellery art of Emeritus Professor Baines and alumn: Nicolas Bastin, Simon Cottrell, Kirsten Haydon, Linda Hughes, Christopher Milbourne, Nicole Polentas and Katherine Wheeler.
Andrea Colasio, Municipal Councillor for Culture, said the works selected for the exhibition employed unconventional working techniques that coupled tradition with innovation, while using both cheap material and precious gold.
"They are conceptually complex pieces which aim to express each individual artist's thoughts, feelings, and artistic reflection of both the past and the present," Ms Colasio said.
Emeritus Professor Baines, who also recently had his work displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, uses ancient techniques in his jewellery making, creating an assemblage of intricate works of gold, silver, and other colours in his brooches, necklaces, rings, and other pieces.
He said Australian contemporary jewellery was quite conceptual, displaying skilful technical experimentation with a focus on personal and collective history echoing both past and modern day life.
"At times this produces abstract, fantastical, and poetic results which often have a veil of nostalgic irony," he said.
"This conceptual process often leads to interpretations that unwind like true stories, real or surreal tales where the works of art are the main characters within a careful and well-thought-out procedure of research and planning."
He said jewellery was a bearer of culture and thoughts, as well as collective and personal historical memory.
"It is a medium which explores and reflects upon the paths of tradition and innovation which my students do their best to adopt in their practise," he said.
"In turn, they produce innovative and highly individual interpretations with different physical and aesthetic outcomes, but which share the idea that jewellery is a means of communication and self-expression that is closely aligned with region, story, and memory."
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