With everything that the prominent Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce has going on, it is almost laughable that in his spare time he would want to do more work. But in fact, over the last five years, he has been making jewelry on the weekends just for fun. This hobby has resulted in a beautiful collection of unique jewelry that was first exhibited at the Basia Embiricos Galerie in Paris during the winter of 2013. Now, and for the first time in the United States, this body of work can be seen at the Gallery at Reinstein Ross. Pesce’s “for her” is an exhibition of thirty pieces consisting of bracelets, necklaces, brooches and rings.
A visionary artist, Pesce has built his career around utilizing new materials and designing furniture that is both a social commentary on our times and a rethinking of traditional forms, therefore it is not surprising that he would also want to expand our notions about jewelry. Made of polyurethane resin, his signature material, each piece is bold and bright, a show stopper. Each pieces begs to be held and undoubtedly will become a conversation piece. It is hard to resist necklaces that resemble gobs of dripping paint or brooches that looked like crinkled construction paper. Whatever it is, you can’t help but smile. Further challenging jewelry, and adding more industrial materials to the mix, magnets are used instead of clasps.
Typically, artists making jewelry prompts various complex questions. The artist’s involvement with the production of the piece and its value are usually at the top of that list. Kelly H. L’Ecuyer, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and jewelry specialist, writes in “Jewelry by Artists: In the Studio, 1940-2000”, by definition ‘artist jewelry is designed by an artist with drawings or models but is fabricated by skilled artisans in a workshop. Usually it is the sculptor or painter who designed the work that is credited with authorship.’ In this sense artist-designed jewelry stands apart from studio jewelry, where the artist generally designs and makes the piece. However this is not the case here. Pesce has designed and made all of the jewelry himself. Although he will tell you that his vision is only half of the final product as the resin’s malleability “makes the conclusion…It forms itself freely, and assumes the final shape.” As for the value, since each piece is not made of precious materials, Pesce rationalizes that “it becomes precious in the way it is worked.”
Pesce’s jewels are playful and witty yet they remind us that great art can extend beyond our walls and find a home on our bodies too.
“for her” is on view at the Gallery at Reinstein Ross through February 20. Visit : 30 Gansevoort Street at Hudson Street, NYC. 212-226-4513