13th NOV 2008 - 30th JAN 2009
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
NEW BRITISH GRADUATES




'Chain gang' reel close-up detail
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FRANCES
WADSWORTH-JONES

A love of paradox and a fascination with the miniature are the driving forces behind my work. Through painstaking attention to the smallest details I attempt to craft visual contradictions – pieces that live a double life in the eye of the viewer, a fiction of normality on the casual glance, and a reality that is anything but on closer inspection. Subverting established visual codes and employing the strategies of the double take, I aim to create works that exist at the unstable boundaries where supposed opposites collide – a margin where the ugly may be beautiful and what seduces can repel, where the precious and the worthless are interchangeable and the mundane may be extraordinary.
From conventional jewellery that is entirely constructed out of tiny insects, to stationery clips that transform into the literal butterflies of their name and accidental splashes which subtly glitter with gems, my work explores the imagery of the undesirable and unremarkable within the context of bodily adornment as the perfect vehicle for challenging paradox. Combining labour intensive and often traditional metalworking techniques with luscious, valuable materials, I attempt to confound the viewer by transforming what at first may seem to be infringements of their personal body space into the most beautiful and precious of jewellery on closer inspection, and ostensibly traditional adornment into a Trojan horse of possibilities.
Though there is a consistent element of transgression in my work – an oscillation between the adorned and the defiled – playful provocation is always underwritten by the desire to assert beauty in the least likely of places and to make statements about the complex nature of human attraction.
Thus, gentle subversion is used as a way to question life’s givens, and explore the tension and delight that is to be found when the familiar becomes deliciously strange.

Look closer. Little is what it seems…

Workers

At first glance, my ‘Workers’ pieces appear to be like much conventional ‘high street’ jewellery. However, look closer and the carefully constructed illusion of mundane mass production reveals itself to be intricately hand crafted jewellery, formed entirely by tiny ants - surreal narrative pieces that, playing on the insects’ behaviour, seem to construct themselves. Inspired by ants’ industry and Imbued with the value of time, ‘workers’ mischievously explores the realities of everyday life we often disregard as unimportant or unpleasant and celebrates the marvels to be found if we look at anything closely enough.


Heaven sent

Combining the traditional and labour intensive technique of granulation with a collage of precious and semi precious stones, I have transformed one of life’s horrible accidents, the bird dropping, into desirable and beautiful jewellery. Oscillating between adornment and defilement, the brooches are serious jokes - playfully provocative they confront initial perceptions to reveal optimistic outcomes. This ‘crap jewellery’ subverts both jewellery traditions and notions of taste to create truly contemporary jewels.


Butterfly Clip

Inspired by the colloquial name of the everyday binder clip, I have realised the metaphorical butterfly, creating an edition of stainless steel wire-formed brooches, that turn stationary into jewellery, the worthless into the precious and the mundane into the extraordinary – making the ‘obvious’ obvious.

Biographical Details


Artists taking part in 'Curiouser and Curiouser' are: Claire Johnston; Frances Wadsworth-Jones; Iona McCuaig; Leonie Batt; NizA Huang; Sally Pawson; Samantha Queen and Susie Lee.