Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jesse Mathes: Personal Space Metalwork, Wearable Art

These times where people are giving one another personal space, keeping handshakes and contact to a minimum are interesting. I'm thinking of the lead character on the tv show, Monk. Situations also remind me of concepts and then to artwork that I like. This brings us to metalwork artist Jesse Mathes.

To name her amazing wearable sculptural series, she uses terms such as Territorial Defense and Personal Space. There is a clear reference to Elizabethan ruffs and yet very modern bristles to them. The play on power and protection goes throughout several of her pieces.

On her web site, she says, "My work focuses on the psychology of personal space and the ability of large scale adornment to empower and protect its wearer."

"I enjoy making jewelry that is both elegant and dramatic, and strive to make work that makes the wearer feel beautiful. I have chosen insulated copper wire as the medium because it is an industrial material traditionally used in electronics, yet has the ability to create elegant textural forms when manipulated by crochet and other textile techniques."

Mathes makes both beautiful jewelry (some of her jewelry is fine wire crochet) and the larger-scale metalwork designs. She was asked about how she balances her time and talent between the two endeavors in an interview at

"My large-scale designs tend to be very labor intensive with numerous technical issues, whereas my jewelry designs are much more minimal and therefore much less taxing to create. I really love doing both because they give me a good balance. After working on a piece that takes over sixty hours to complete it can be very gratifying to make several pieces of jewelry in one day. Then when I feel like making something more challenging I switch back. "

Her work was recently shown as part of the Equilibrium: Body as Site exhibit at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts in El Paso, TX. A slide show of pieces from the exhibit is available on their site. She has taught metalsmithing as well as working as an artist and jewelry designer.

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