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Talking about ANU gold and silversmithing

Guests at the launch of Talking Points at ANU House, Melbourne. Image: Jieh-Yung Lo

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Artists who have come through the ANU Gold and Silversmithing Workshop will have a place at the boardroom table in a new Melbourne exhibition.

Talking Points, which graces the boardroom table at ANU House in Melbourne, features objects and jewellery made by select students, alumni and visiting scholars from the past five years.

The exhibition is a key event in this year’s Radiant Pavilion festival, a major showcase of Australian and international craft and design.

“Our exhibition is highly anticipated with broad recognition of our role on producing some of the most noted practitioners in the field,” says Dr Rohan Nicol, Head Gold and Silversmithing at the ANU School of Art and Design.

“An emerging interest amongst these students is a desire to negotiate a place and context for their cultural traditions and customs in a globalised and interconnected world.”

One example of this is Bond - In process by PhD candidate Bifei Cao, a vessel held together with nickel wiring. The vessel’s individual tiles were made from baby milk powder, wood glue and baby oil.

“These meticulous complex and fluid objects chart the complex and interconnected world we cohabit,” says Dr Nicol.

Third year Bachelor of Visual Arts student Nyx Mathews has several pieces in Talking Points. Like a couch that takes on the form of its sitters, Nyx has a set of cutlery with handles wrapped in kid leather that will adopt the imprint of their user.

Dr Nicol says the cutlery will take up the residue of use and record a life in service of consumption.

“Her small sculptural works are equally responsive to engagement and quiver in response to movement, and actively engage the senses of the viewer in a sustained moment.”

The exhibition objects, by metalsmiths at various stages of their careers, “tells us that each maker is the product of a community of other makers,” according to Anne Brennan, Senior Lecturer in the ANU Centre for Art History and Art Theory.

“Most of all, it tells us that there will be a triumphant moment when a student, having learned what they can, finds their own voice and takes their own place in the world.”

The Melbourne exhibition was opened and launched by ANU Chancellor Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC on 29 August.

He spoke about the contribution the School of Art and Design makes to the cultural life of Australia and the national capital, describing it as “one of the finest assets of Australia’s finest university”.

“We are particularly proud of the Gold and Silversmithing studio, which is internationally renowned, passionately led by its staff, and draws students from around the world to its undergraduate and postgraduate programs,” says Professor Evans.

“I congratulate all the exhibitors on their craftsmanship and imagination and all those who have worked so hard and well to bring this show together – including Rohan Nicol and Simon Cottrell of the workshop and the students who have with them played a significant role in its development and staging.”

Talking Points is curated by Dr Rohan Nicol and Simon Cottrell and will run until 2 September.

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Updated:  22 November, 2017/Responsible Officer:  College Dean/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications