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Review: 'Clasp' at Craft Alliance highlights the body as landscape

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 3, 2012 - Seven jewelry creators bring their work to Clasp, the latest exhibit at Craft Alliance at Grand Center curated by Robert Longyear. Conceived as a show about making connections, Clasp highlights the body as landscape.

The show’s standout is Daniel Dicaprio’s Grafted Brooch. Composed of applewood and ebony, the brooches are elegant in simplicity, while maintaining whimsy in shape. Mounted as a group, they recall Wilfredo Lam’s elongated forms and bulging centers, questioning our perception of jewelry’s traditional beauty.

Other highlights include Bruce Metcalf’s Corsage and Pink Void, popping from the painted silhouettes of a man and woman. This interplay symbolically joins the jewelry’s purpose as something to be worn with an identity of the wearer, creating a thought-provoking context for the brightly colored brooches.

The most wearable pieces come from Seth Papac and Sharon Massey. An enameled copper and brass necklace from Papac plays with linearity, the metal forms creating a subtle allusion to ladders. It is paired with a questionable-if-wearable piece that calls attention to the collection’s title: put on the lights, appropriating shapes and materials that reflect fixtures and electric outputs.

Massey’s Ersatz Pendant: Jewelry Tropes IV, Meretricious, made of gold-plated brass, silver, and spinel combines an elegant interchange of color. The hand of the artist is maintained with prodded marks along the necklace’s base, creating a lovely impression that asks, “Why meretricious?”

All together, Clasp exhibits some wonderful pieces, causing those who experience it to think more seriously about the social conception of jewelry. And while some individual pieces certainly meet this concept, the exhibit doesn't quite achieve a fully fastened chain.

Rachel Heidenry holds a B.A. in art history and human rights from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. A former Beacon intern, she recently completed a Fulbright research grant studying mural painting in El Salvador and is currently a fellow at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia.

We asked her to return to St. Louis and give us her take on some of the art exhibits that have opened recently. Heidenry is also the daughter of features editor Donna Korando.