Jamie Bennett lives and works in New York and is an undisputed maestro when it comes to the art of using enamel to create jewellery. Like the pieces on display as part of this solo show, all of his works are tiny masterpieces of great expertise and beauty.
Enamel on copper; these miniatures are created with the utmost attention to detail. The links and the clasps are embellished with gold, harking back to the traditions of expert goldsmiths who not only take great care in creating the surface of their works of art, but also the unseen and hidden parts.
Jamie’s pieces are also sometimes beautiful ‘underneath’ – in some cases even more so, if that’s possible, because they call to mind the transparency of porcelain. The reds, blues, and yellows are as warm as they are in nature, and they often evoke marine landscapes or the afternoon landscapes of old photographs, where the countryside has the typical tones and hues of summertime.
As the artist himself states, The pieces in this body of work are not born as complete works. “As I worked on them they were shaped, assembled cut apart and reassembled. Slight shifts and slippage to create a sense of motion or being in process. The images and marks are incomplete and at times devoid of reciprocal relations, fragmented, something missing something that is about to arrive.”
The wait for that something is full of beauty and marvel, of mastery and interrogation for the spectator. Jamie’s jewellery, and in fact contemporary jewellery as a whole, has a way of interacting with the wearer, a way of telling stories and prompting questions.
This work is not meant to be as clear; I want the work to be more open ended with fragments of images punctuating the surface joined but not in order. Small particles of language, visual terms and shapes dispersed on the surface. Bits and pieces of collections and congeries. What Eco calls catalogs of the imagination. Not finalized, not readable, not framed. (Jamie Bennett)