Jan Mandel Purpose Statement
As an emerging contemporary metalsmith in the United States, I have found myself increasingly challenged by those who feel a narrative is essential to the integrity of the work. Although I do believe that influence is important, how it impacts the finished creation, and the resulting artistic statement, need not be paramount or overwhelming to the viewer or wearer. It is important however, that my work stand on its own as decorative body adornment. The resulting creations will hopefully allow one to not only see, but feel the sculpted contours, and their historic references.
The fretworks, or wire-structures, which compose my work can appear reminiscent of the architecture of plique-a-jour, or a framework which supports a multi-jeweled adornment without its gemstones. Skeletal constructions that echo their historic influence, it is the flow of line and the complexities of patterns that they form, which dominates. How the eye peceives the negative space within the design format is equally as important, as how each fretwork interacts with the other as they traverse a piece.
In addition to the extreme importance of the work complementing the physical form, and how the wearer actively responds to the wearing, are the subliminal contexts, which have profoundly affected my designs. Historic reference in both concept, and construction has been a long-standing influence, specifally those aspects from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries.
Transformation pieces which have multiplicity of use, such as the Susurra Tiara, which transform into necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and hair adornment are an example. Composed of eight (8) separate brooches that connect to form a myriad of variations, the wearer never tires of the piece due to its diversity. In the Stricture Series, the wearer can experience the profound influence of adornment on the bodyąs posture, contour, movements, and even circulation. This piece quietly seduces the wearer with a beautiful object which, when worn, physically gestures the sensitivities of the era it recalls. Bound and trussed, women willingly compromised themselves as they conformed to their societal expectations of beautyŠeach breath, and each movement anticipated.
As a maker, I desire to produce a personal statement that not only complements the physical body, but also allows for the interaction of the object with the wearer, as well as the viewer. It is my hope that this interpretation of contemporary adornment, while imbued with historic reference, will grace the body with dignity.
~ Jan Mandel