The ancient moon-worshipping religions crafted and engraved this metal into jewellery, ritual ornaments, and all sorts of functional objects for use as talismans. Last but not least, a bullet cast from silver can always come in handy should you ever find yourself in front of a vampire, werewolf or similar. Blame cheaper imports or limited training opportunities, to counteract the eclipsing of silversmithing Gallery S O wants to give artists working with metal a chance to shine.
The exhibition provides a wide survey of works made with different materials, techniques, and surface treatment. Some are in silver but also steel, copper and other metals. Some are cast or forged and can have shiny or matt finishes. Considering the wealth of possible approaches, artists included in the show, such as Max Warren, Peter Bauhuis and Patrick Davison, take an alchemical stance towards metal. For example, Bauhuis uses various alloys and skilfully engages with the process of casting and melting, the results being quite unexpected in terms of colour, surface and form.
The habitual, disposable and trivial becomes special in the work of Rudolf Bott, Anders Ljungberg, David Bielander and David Clarke. Through their use of metal these artists allow references to familiar decorative objects and functional tools to become something entirely different. A clear example is in David Bielander’s uncanny and meticulous replicas in patinated silver of common paper bags, or David Clarke's figurines, cast in pewter directly into ceramic slipcases which are then smashed off, thus revealing a new casting of the internal void.
Arguably the silver tongues of metal-smithing, Simone Ten Hompel, Michael Rowe and Tore Svensson, possess an eloquence that doesn’t need narratives or even codified meanings. By conceiving their craft as a language, their artworks communicate through a formal inner logic. Simone Ten Hompel's process is a conversation with metal, adopting a vocabulary of domestic tableware to create objects that demand an understanding that is tactile as much as it is mental. Similarly Tore Svensson focuses on the elemental form of the bowl, hardly varying in size and form, slowly beating the steel thousands of times with a hammer into their shape. Fired with linseed oil, the iron becomes black. The artist regards his bowls as “objects for contemplation, as holders for your thoughts.”
The silver moon is set;
The Pleiades are gone;
Half the long night is spent, and yet
I lie alone.