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[New Orchid Gallery] Alice Sprintzen

Artist: Alice Sprintzen
Orchid Gallery:

The jewelry artist of today is not constrained by the conventions of
commercial fashion but rather thinks from a place without restraints
on creativity. All of the traditional jewelry making techniques may
be employed but they are in the service of “out of the box” forms,
images and materials. Precious stones may appear alongside a rusty
key, scale may be bolder, design may take on more of a sculptural
stance as form interacts with body. As the aesthetic moves away from
mainstream conventions, images may not be as “pretty” but rather
used to make a personal statement. The jeweler’s stage is broadened
to include many diverse visions and the possibilities are endless.

Many contemporary jewelers are incorporating found materials in
their work. These objects speak to past experiences as well as an
aesthetic sense of color, form, texture and design. As inveterate
collectors and scavengers, jewelers revel in manipulating objects,
presenting them in new contexts, giving new meaning to what may have
previously been overlooked. The castaway is elevated to a place of
honor, the mundane becomes precious and materials rusted, worn by
age and discarded, are valued for their intrinsic beauty.

The found object jeweler, always on the hunt, haunts thrift shops,
antique stores, garbage dumps, and curbsides. Machine parts,
plastics, metal, manufactured remnants present themselves in our
everyday environment just as bones, plant material and shells
inhabited the prehistoric jeweler’s landscape. Found object jewelers
continue in a long tradition of the collage and assemblage artists
throughout history who have exploited the found object.

Jewelry of this genre is an antidote to the wasteful, consumer
oriented direction of modern life. It is a celebration of the
inventive use of objects transformed. It challenges the viewer to
take a fresh look at the ubiquitous mundane objects that can be
appreciated if we only take the time to direct our attention in
their direction.

"One day, in a rubbish heap, I found an old bicycle seat, lying
beside a rusted handlebar and my mind instantly linked them
together. I assembled these two objects, which everyone recognized
as a bull’s head. The metamorphosis was accomplished, and I wish
another metamorphosis would occur in the reverse sense. If my bull’s
head were thrown in a junk heap, perhaps one day some boy would say:
‘Here’s something that would make a good handlebar for my bicycle!’"