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Catherine Minich

Human beings wear jewelry to proclaim their self worth. The materials used are a celebration of technological inventiveness. Whether metallurgy, stone cutting, glass making, or the mathematical genius that can transform computer data into tangible, 3-dimensional objects, the invention which turns raw material into original objects of art is employed in jewelry to declare a person’s position, accomplishments and beauty to the world.

Technology and art are inter-related and the arts of the metalsmith and jeweler are intrinsic to the development of the technologies and philosophies which have formed our civilization. I find an artistic imperative, based on the history of my field, to create my work using the technologies that are relevant to my time.

The personal computer is effecting a dramatic historical change. It simultaneously demolishes boundaries of gender and culture while it is imposing rapid changes in global perceptions of labor and human worth. I am using the computer to create objects designed to express personal empowerment. I also seek to challenge what many perceive as a dehumanizing technology, by creating work that engages the viewer on a personal and intimate level. Some of my pieces can only exist in the virtual environment. They are intended to engage the imagination. The viewer of my work can perceive herself as the inhabitant of this imaginary realm. Most pieces can exist in the real world as tangible objects and will affect the wearer by aggressively altering her posture and movements. The materials that I use combine precious metals and contemporary synthetics. These are materials to which my culture assigns value. They are used to create those possessions that we hold most desirable, such as computers, cars and cell phones. I use these materials to accentuate the desirability and strength of the human body. In place of gemstones, I use electric lights. These lights envelop the wearer and create, for her, a sense of individuality within her environment.

Posture and costume cause emotional change. Objects of adornment alter and define the perception of self. I am making jewels that will aggressively alter posture and forcefully announce the wearer's presence. I use the same basic technologies that many use in their daily work, to create objects that will unite them with their human power. Aesthetically, my objects reflect the geometric and electric contemporary urban environment. Functionally, my pieces constrict movement and cause self-conscious posture. I intend to make the wearer cognizant of her presence and sensuality. I am creating work that is designed to draw attention and announce strength. I wish to inspire, in the wearer, a feeling of beauty and a sense of harmony with her urban, electric and computerized surroundings.


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