OXOXO Gallery Opens January 2000 with
Baltimore's Most Innovative Jewelry

By Fletcher/Schwing

     The term "Wearable Art" has become somewhat of a cliche in the past few years, which covers any interesting handcrafted item of clothing or jewelry. Rarely do we see a Fine Craft Gallery that actually holds concept as high on the list of criteria as craftsmanship. OXOXO in Mt Washington succeeds. Judy Donald has been developing the gallery for five years. She represents over 100 artists, many of them internationally known and featured in Ornament magazine (Wearable Art's most prestigious publication). She hosts about ten shows a year. Judy is also committed to supporting local artists.

     Once a year Ms. Donald curates a show of student and faculty work from the Maryland Institute's Jewelry Center. The exhibition, Mastering Materials 5, runs from January 7 through 30. The gallery is located at 1617 in Mount Washington Village.

     OXOXO's inventive display system facilitates showcasing of individual artists as well as collections of work. The show is integrated such that you cannot readily discern student work from faculty work. This speaks well for the Institute Program, as the high quality of student work is evident. Judy enjoys encouraging and supporting developing artists. She says "I think it is important that developing artists see their work displayed next to work by well known artists."

Hair Cage Necklace by Margaux Lange Our pick of the show is Margaux Lange's caged hair necklace. (Whom we later discovered is a student.) It is an exquisite millennial adaptation of a Victorian theme. Margaux uses her own fiery red hair, balled and enclosed in open sterling silver globes. Not only is the piece sculpturally and conceptually interesting, it is also wearable. Click on the necklace image to see an enlaged view.

     Another exceptional student, Giselle Kolb holds her own case with unique wooden and silver linked neckwear. She is definitely on her way in this new world of Fine Art Jewelry.

jewelry reliquaries by Julie Koebbe Our other favorites include jewelry reliquaries by artist Julie Koebbe. The casements are as intricate and intriguing as the jewelry itself. This offers possibilities of displaying fine art jewelry as part of a collection when not being worn. Julie has recently joined the Institute staff from New Orleans where she was working with Thomas Mann. You can see a larger image if you click on Julie's work.

     Shana Croix, the head of the department, whose work we have seen many times in OXOXO's shows and collection, surprises us by reinventing her voluptuous forms in a new alternative material, tin cans. They are lighter and more whimsical than the enameled work for which she is known.

     Kirsten Rook has gone beyond jewelry into sculpture in a biospheric collaboration with Shelby Clarke. "Rooting for the Future" consists of cast pewter forms in combination with potato roots floating in an aquarium made of glass and aluminum. It will be interesting to see what develops with this creative partnership.

     A quick stop into OXOXO may extend to a three hour visit if you are interested in seeing all that is available. We suggest that you take your time.

2000 Fletcher/Schwing

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