Submitted by: Mary Lynn Podiluk, Curator of Contemporary Jewellery by Melody Armstrong
Evoking a sense of boldness with a presence that is uncompromising and original, Melody Armstrong makes a statement through her sculptural, wearable art jewellery. She has chosen metal as her dominant component, allowing for technical flexibility while the material informs her designs. Metal is a challenging but versatile element—it is hard and resilient yet not immovable, reluctant to take shape while being worked, and equally resistant to losing that shape once formed. Melody’s work originates from a piece of raw metal and is hand-fabricated, allowing the metal to influence the design itself, its properties lending their character every step of the way without overshadowing her vision for the work.
In many ways, this work evokes a sense of the night sky. The patina of the metal absorbs light instead of shining, the satin finish giving a diffuse glow reminiscent of moonlit clouds. Colours and shapes suggest fading twilight, dancing aurora and bright morning, contrasting with the darkened metal which appears to be silhouetted or in shadow. Her aesthetic is built on geometric shapes juxtaposed with curved lines, repeating elements adding structure and unifying this body of work. There is contrast between spontaneous elements, such as the five-sided shapes that evolved through process and material, and meticulous, deliberate forms like each link of handmade chain.
Melody’s work is created without compromise or adherence to convention, placing it in the realm of art rather than adornment. Art jewellery—which emphasizes experimentation, expression, and innovation—stands out against many other art fields in its multiple options for display. It can be exhibited as seen here, but can also be worn, the body becoming the canvas to support the piece of art, with the wearer taking the work outside the bounds of the gallery. Even so, it is not adornment; the piece is its own self-contained experience, encompassing creativity and conceptual design, rather than serving the purpose of defining or enhancing the wearer’s personal style. It is less a status symbol, rather, a statement of expression by both the artist and the wearer. It is within this context that Melody Armstrong’s practice resides. As one of the pioneers of art jewellery in Saskatchewan, she has actively engaged herself as a contemporary jewellery artist, becoming known within the arts community for her unique and individual aesthetic, as well as her contributions and accomplishments. Through this exhibition, she demonstrates her passion and vision, continuing to illuminate the possibilities that jewellery has to offer.
Contemporary Jewellery by Melody Armstrong will be displayed in Affinity Gallery until October 17, 2015. The Gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, and open late Thursdays until 8 pm. More information.