Design Series, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Gallery Events, jewelry

Q&Eve: Undercurrents

A new series of fine art jewelry opening on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 1:00p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, with guests enjoying festive refreshments, live music, and Evanston-made art jewelry.

Q: What first sparked your interest in life beneath the sea?

A: All of my childhood summers were spent near the North Seas…a roiling, vigorous stretch with frequent storms that others thought scary but I found beautiful, even to the flotsam on the beach after the storm. Calm days were spent collecting shells, seaweed, and observing small crustaceans burrowing at water’s edge.

Copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

Q: What was your thinking process behind the creation of “Undercurrents” and its underlying themes?

A: When you gaze at the ocean, the horizon seems limitless, so of course, you are going to feel that it is an infinitely expandable resource that needs no stewardship. Most of us that are not fishermen experience the animals that dwell therein as “Nemo” cartoon characters, or ingredients in their sushi.

Q: Is “Undercurrents” at all a reaction to climate change?

A: …Not specifically climate change, but anthropocene-induced deterioration, and the now-permanent gyre of plastic debris in the Pacific.

Q: Marine Biologist & past Pearl Society speaker Michelle Hoffman described Earth as a closed system…Does this have implications in your work?

A: More and more, we come to accept this.

Q: Several pieces in your new series feature long, rectangular compositions of undersea life that appear to have a very contained sense of space. What was your creative thinking behind these works?

A: So we can imagine ourselves as attendees at a future museum exhibit presenting bas reliefs of a vanished undersea world…The series of 10 gold bas reliefs will be mounted on bronze bases, straddling the world of sculpture and jewelry.

Q: In what ways might “Undercurrents” be an evolution of some undersea symbols you’ve explored in past series, like “Les Animaliers” and “Sea of Sargasso?”

A: “Les Animaliers” dealt, not with animals, but with how we represent them, anthropomorphize them, and reduce them into near-abstractions. “Sea of Sargasso” was a moody meditation on the allure and mystery that the “unknowable,” the seven seas, have held for humankind. With “Undercurrents,” I think we have to admit that the ocean’s resource is not finite…there are not really “many fish in the sea,” and we can no longer plead ignorance.

Copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

Q: What materials, styles, or motifs might we see in your new series?

A: Obviously, pearls, many, all kinds- even freshwater, since all waters are ultimately connected. Oceanic hues, green seaweed, corals, bright gems adorning rock fish, moonstone-bearing jellies, diamond trails of bubbles, and opals in all their shades…

Q: Just for fun: do you have a favorite sea creature, and if so, then why?

A: A quick, thoughtless answer would be: shells, based on my childhood summers by the sea. But the paradox is that, while collecting shells used to bring delight, seeing some actual living animals in their shell brought only fear and revulsion! Another marker of our human self-centeredness!