All original work and coloured images copyright On-Yau Lui
BW photography on this page by Noel Mclaughlin
Gallery onefivesix, Sydney Australia
The re-named Makers’ Space (formally known as Ipso Facto) is home to Nicola Bannerman, Elizabeth Bower, Francine Haywood, Pip Keane, On Lui and Emma Wood. Within the approach to these works, it is clear that even though the artists share a common studio, each maker has a clearly established her own separate identity. All of these artists have an eclectic history of Jewellery design. Each presents a personal and, at times, political interpretation of the role of Jewellery in contemporary art. On Lui and Emma Wood both have experience in architectural design. The former a graduate and practicing architect; the latter has studied landscape architecture. Both confess that the study of architecture plays an important role in how they perceive contemporary Jewellery and its design. Although their work is independent of one another, they have a shared ideology and believe that Jewellery has a unique ability, as well as convey notions of existential and intrinsic. A piece of Jewellery not only adorns the body, but becomes part of its structure and extends its form and meaning. The interaction is intimate and affirms identity, unlike architecture, which entails the urban environments that occupy and surround the body, giving a sense of being separate from and alienated by structure ad design.
The work of On Lui utilizes synthetic and organic materials in varied combinations that represent both natural and cultural themes. Often the amalgamation of material (synthetic/organic) produces a synthesis in which the natural and cultural are indistinguishable. In works titled Déjà vu, Wing Nut Brace and Reminiscence, On Lui uses discarded industrial objects, such as washers and wing nuts, to inject new life into re-conceptualised skeletal forms, a theme she revisits in Finnish Pins where fish fins are used in isolation, suggesting love of natural form. The exposure of skeletal forms in these works (where wing nuts reference the vertebrae and its movement) provoke the viewer with engaging questions about prescribed moral values and re-evaluating principles of aesthetic beauty. Each of these works echoes the duality of life, encompassing the animate and the inanimate, life and death, beauty and repulsion, fear and courage.
Review extract by Todd Turner
Craft Arts International Magazine. May, 2003.