Wallace Arts Trust Collection Area April 21st to June 10th 2012

RETROSPECT brings together the work of Peter Deckers, an important mid-career artist combined with a high-quality exhibition of New Zealand contemporary jewellery comprising of the work of a twenty strong contingent of New Zealand emerging and established contemporary jewellers

In 2007, Peter Deckers created a cabinet of works looking back at 20 years of making jewellery since immigrating to New Zealand, a retrospection of his journey through examples of his workmanship. This installation was exhibited at Objectspace and purchased by the James Wallace Arts Trust.

Deckers is currently a senior tutor at Whitireia Polytechnic in Porirua and is a contemporary artist and craftsperson who exhibits with galleries throughout New Zealand and internationally. His work, philosophy and ideas have also been the subject of a book, ‘Choices of the Hand; a Survey of Work from New Zealand Jeweller Peter Deckers’, introduction by Stevan Eldred-Grigg, published by First Editions, Wellington (supported by Creative New Zealand).
"He looks for what he calls the 'surprising complexity' of things and then seeks to work his way into that complexity beneath a surface which at first can seem a kind of commonness, a sort of normality, neutrality or simplicity. Consequently, each work is unique. Deckers never repeats a design".
(Stevan Eldrid-Grigg, Choices of the Hand, 2006)
Deckers jewellery practice extends into curatorial projects. Notable ones are Deep and Deeper Still, JOC world tour (Jewellery Out of Context), HANDstand and currently HANDshake. Both the JOC world tour and HANDshake were supported by Creative New Zealand. Decker is co-founder of the SeeHere gallery and website
Many of the artists invited to participate in this show have participated in one or two projects curated by Peter Deckers since 2005. All have a strong making ethic and have established strong individual practices. Each artist was invited to develop a new piece of work in response to his or her individual practise.

RETROSPECT therefore pays homage to and ‘gives back’ to a mentor that has created many opportunities for new and established artists to exhibit in important shows – which is especially important when an artist is fresh out of art school. Having such opportunities to exhibit can mean the difference between falling off the cliff or not and being able to establish and continue an art making practice.

The twenty artists in RETROSPECT: Debbie Adamson, Vivien Atkinson, Renee Bevan, Nadene Carr, Jacqui Chan,Kristin D’Agostino, Cath Dearsley, Gillian Deery, Sharon Fitness, Sunni Gibson,Victoria McIntosh, Ross Malcolm, Vaune Mason, Jhana Millers, Neke Moa,Shelley Norton, Lynsay Raine, Sarah Read, Nadine Smith & Raewyn Walsh all have a strong work ethic in common, but are unique in that each individual’s journey, process, materials, experiments and approach are very different. The brief for RETROSPECT was just that, “RETROSPECT your own practice and make a new work for this show. If Peter Deckers has been an influence on your current or past practice through teaching or mentoring – by all means explore that aspect – but at the end of the day make a new piece that speaks of your practice”.

As a freelance curator and art educator myself, this brief to me felt exciting (albeit a bit scary) however the link with Peter Deckers, the Far Sight installation being a ‘retrospect’ of 20 years of his practice and his vocation as mentor/educator all felt very apt.

The resulting works in RETROPSECT will be a magnificent survey of current Contemporary Jewellery practice in New Zealand.

It is appropriate that RETROSPECT is held at the Pah Homestead, the home of the collection of The James Wallace Arts Trust and at the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville as the Trust has always supported and encouraged New Zealand artists by purchasing and exhibiting the work of established and emerging artists.

Thanks to Creative New Zealand for funding the RETROSPECT project via their quick response arts grant scheme. Having the support of the James Wallace Arts Trust and Creative New Zealand funding has been invaluable and without this RETROSPECT would not have been possible

Jo Mears

This image gallery only shows a few of the pieces on display