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"Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch"
2001-01-20 until 2001-04-22
Oakland Museum of California
Oakland, CA, USA

Works by internationally acclaimed jewelry artist Arline Fisch are featured in the exhibition Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch. The exhibition is a retrospective of 60 works created over the 40-year career of one of the leaders of the modern art jewelry movement.

The first exhibition to explore the full range of designs and techniques employed in Fischís innovative work, Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch features jewelry and decorative objects in silver, gold and non-precious metals from the San Diego Historical Society and the artistís private collection, as well a several pieces from the collection of the Oakland Museum of California. Included are a sensuous bracelet of silver and leather attached to feathers that engulf the hand, an Egyptian-inspired collar of fine silver woven and pleated to form a face-framing pyramid, and a flat braided silver and gold square that changes to a sculpted form when draped over the wearer, shaping itself to the body.

In the 1940s, an international art jewelry movement emerged in which artists and jewelers changed the definition of jewelry from mere ornament to art worn close to the body, and questioned the primacy of precious materials and traditional jewelry techniques. Arline Fisch has been one of the most visible and influential forces in this movement, pioneering the application of textile techniques to sculptural work in metal and creating dramatic, large-scale bodysculptures that push the boundaries between jewelry and dress. Her integration of weaving, knitting, crocheting and braiding of metal into the creation of jewelry, creating metal that acts like cloth, was a groundbreaking technique that has become standard among her contemporaries. Her work includes breastplates of hammered silver plaques, full-body-length stoles of knitted wire, and Jacobean collars of metal lace, as well as more delicate pieces employing feathers, press-formed colored metal flowers, and fine silver wire. Fisch has said of her work, I make jewelry and/or adornments which have dramatic impact, personal objects to be worn which enhance and exalt the wearer. I use forms which relate to the human body and are comfortable to wear, using both precious and non-precious materials.

Fisch received a bachelorís degree in studio art from Skidmore College and a masterís in art from the University of Illinois at Urbana. She is a professor emeritus at San Diego State University where she founded the jewelry program and influenced the development of many contemporary jewelry artists. She is the author of the seminal book TextileTechniques in Metal for Jewelers, Textile Artists & Sculptors. Her numerous honors include four Fulbright Grants, four National Endowment for the Arts Grants, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Fisch has exhibited widely in the U.S. and U.K., and her work appears in collections worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Recognized internationally as a leader in contemporary jewelry design, Fisch was named a Living Treasure of California by the State Assembly in 1985.

A 128-page color illustrated catalog, published by Arnoldsche Art Publishers, accompanies the exhibition.

Public programs in conjunction with Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch will include lectures by Fisch and a leading historian of the art jewelry movement and family events featuring demonstrations and hands-on exploration of the creation of jewelry in nontraditional materials.

The exhibition and associated public programs are made possible by the generous support of the Arline Fisch Exhibition Sponsor Group.

Egyptian Dream, 1996;
Silver, 18k, black onyx, pearls, loom woven, pleated, fabricated

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