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.

seahorse.jpg
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.

unnamed.jpg
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!

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

Undercurrents: Opening Celebration

The new series will be inaugurated 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.

Never before have the depths of the sea seemed so close that you could take the purple line! That’s what local artist Eve Alfille’s newest series of fine art jewelry, “Undercurrents,” aims to do…Eve has taken creatures from the world beneath the waves, and has replaced their shimmering scales and colorful fronds with new bodies of gold, silver, and gems, only to release them anew at her gallery in Downtown Evanston.

Necklace.jpg
“Ghost Fish” Necklace. Copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

These precious works of wearable art cover an expanse of ideas as diverse as the ocean itself…in one necklace, happy golden seahorses dangle beneath a suspiciously fish-shaped South Seas blister pearl, evoking the joy and life of living on a reef. Other pieces, however, tackle the issues which have formed between the ocean and us. “When you gaze at the ocean, the horizon seems limitless,” says Eve, “so of course you are going to feel that it is an infinitely expandable resource that needs no stewardship…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.”

“Undercurrents” will include an array of gems and motifs meant to give due credit to the many creatures therein who often resemble jewels themselves. According to Eve, this will mean: “obviously pearls, many, all kinds, even freshwater since all waters are ultimately connected. Oceanic hues, green seaweed, corals, bright gems adorning rockfish, moonstone-bearing jellies, diamond trails of bubbles, and opals in all their shades.”

unnamed.jpg
Copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

The opening celebration will feature a specially-created jewelry raffle prize, Champagne and other libations, delicious treats, and live music provided by classical guitarist Sean McMahon. Join us when the series surfaces on May 6, 2017 from 1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio. Please send RSVPs to either 847-869-7920 or contact@evejewelry.com. To learn more about Eve Alfillé and see more of her works, visit www.evejewelry.com.

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

Opening Party and Narrative for Eve’s newest series “Alone Together”

“A fourth-floor walkup on a quiet street in Paris. A child is playing with blocks on the floor while a radio is playing. She is Aimee, (ay-may), later called Violette, a small, quiet, brown-haired child with wide eyes.

Sound: a man is ranting, screaming at a high pitch. A crowd roars, again and again, in successive waves. The windows rattle. Somebody swiftly crosses the floor, switches off the sound. It is 1940.”

– Act 1 in Eve Alfillé’s eleven-part narrative, “Alone Together”

jewelry from Alone Together, Eve's new series

We cordially invite you to the opening reception of “Alone Together” at the Eve J. Alfillé Studio & Gallery celebrating a new series of stunning jewelry by Eve. The collection will feature items inspired by the life and times of Aimee, the fictional heroine of Eve’s stunning eleven-part narrative.

Our celebration will feature musical stylings by classical guitarist Sean McMahon, as well as hors d’oeuvres, potent potables and sweet treats.

Please join us on Saturday, May 3, from Noon – 6pm
at the Eve J. Alfillé Studio & Gallery
623 Grove Street, Evanston, IL 60201

Everybody is invited! Please RSVP to 847-869-7920 or contact@EveJewelry.com

Design Series, Gallery Events

Eve’s Artist Statement for her new series: “Homage to Klimt”

Homage to Klimt jewelry design
A preview or work from Eve’s upcoming design series titled “Homage to Klimt.”

RSVP Online for the “Homage to Klimt” Design Series Opening
Saturday, October 19, 2013 from noon – 6pm at Eve J Alfille Gallery & Studio
[Get Directions]

Intense and dazzling, the forms
Shimmer, nothing left to chance;
Gustav anchored life, lust and love
All at once, in a dance
Of golden glory.

Be not afraid. The scenes
Are not wanton, orgies, yes,
But of color and form, sensate
Pools of desire refracted
Into each of the senses.

How does an artist give the world
All the fullness it deserves?
With a private garden of symbols,
Simple, potent, yet absolute
The spiral, the oval, the square.

This shall be thy alphabet.
Like a magic crystal of childhood,
Place one in a glass of water and
As you watch, a world will grow

Eve J. Alfille September 2013

Design Series, Gallery Events

Capturing Transformation in Her New Design Series

RSVP Online for the “Homage to Klimt” Design Series Opening
Saturday, October 19, 2013 from noon – 6pm at Eve J Alfille Gallery & Studio
[Get Directions]

Authored by Maggie Flynn, Medill School of Journalism

The intertwined figures in Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” scarcely look human at first glance. The first clear impression is that of a woman’s face and shoulders floating in an amorphous gold cloak. Only on closer examination does the back of the head bent over her become apparent. The lover’s hands are tender on the woman’s face, and her arm is wrapped around his neck. It’s an intimate, striking moment, captured with amazing detail.

klimtkiss
Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”

However the details of this painting— bits of colors, rectangles and circles in the cloaks, textured backgrounds—aren’t what you’d expect from a depiction of two lovers. From top to bottom, Klimt’s work showcases color and texture in a way designed to evoke the experience of all the senses.

That engagement of the senses inspired Eve Alfille’s newest jewelry series, which draws from the works of Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).

The jewelry art of Eve Alfille has always engaged the senses, but in her newest series, she’s hoping to capture something of that transformation. It’s a lofty goal. Crafting a jewelry piece that achieves artistic purpose and suitability involves walking a tricky tightrope between art and craft.

In 1900-1912, in which Klimt would produce “The Kiss,” movements for the beautification of objects began to gather momentum. European nations were in various states of upheaval. Freudian psychology was making its way around Europe, and interest in primitive civilizations and primal urges was becoming stronger. Dissatisfaction with the aristocracy’s domination of the arts had been growing for some decades, and more and more artists believed that “art had to be for everybody.” Art had begun to move out of academic circles and off the canvas.

Eve’s fascination with the art of that time played a major role in her ‘Homage to Klimt’, but it’s not the first time that 1900-1912 has inspired her. In the fall of 2011, she created a series titled “Dancing Under the Stars,” inspired by the work of Lyonel Feininger, another artist of that period.

Unlike Klimt, Feininger depicted a world fueled by the subconscious.

“That was work was about dreams, images from dreams. It was about surrealism,” Eve explained in reference to “Dancing Under the Stars.”

bracelet-sketch
A glimpse at Eve’s process before metal or stones are worked into magic.

Her newest series, ‘Homage to Klimt,’ draws inspiration from the same time period, but her creative process for the Klimt series has been brewing steadily for some years. It’s part of her creative process- to wait out the initial spark, think about the designs. And when the time is right to begin her art, she knows, though she doesn’t say much about how- merely that when the images start to come, she begins to get a better sense of what to make.

“That’s the chef’s secret, right?” she said with a smile.

Two artistic movements that intersected at that time were surrealism and symbolism. While surrealists, in Eve’s words, “were trying to access the strange logic of dreams,” symbolists were concerned with the senses. For symbolists, the senses were the true source of art, and “it was felt that all the senses speak together.”

Klimt, a true symbolist, drew his artistic inspiration from the academic art which he learned in his artistic schooling, the goldsmith work of his immediate family, ancient golden frescoes, and the societal unrest that had spread throughout his lifetime. His work is marked with symbols and strange sensual correlatives ranging from the Egyptian eye to ovals, color schemes associated with life and death.

Eve finds those symbols particularly meaningful.

“I’m fascinated by his particular- what I call his alphabet,” she said in reference to the symbols.

His alphabet was endlessly intricate and endlessly inventive. In some pieces Klimt would pay the trappings of his subjects more attention than the subjects themselves. With his symbols and lines, he forces his audience to pay attention to how the senses work in tandem to produce a fuller picture of reality than what the eye perceived. Klimt’s use of texture and goldsmith work in his paintings proved how artistic such blending of the senses could be, something that Eve appreciates in her work as a jewelry artist.

“Jewelry is one of the arts, and I consider myself an artist. But jewelry is- in art schools, they distinguish between art and craft. The idea being that a piece of art does not have a useful purpose other than to inspire. A craft can be utilized. So craft has been considered less exalted, secondary. Most museums deal in art, not craft. In art circles, craft is also called the decorative arts or the minor arts,” Eve said thoughtfully as she paged through a collection of Klimt’s works.

“It’s an artificial distinction and Klimt doesn’t do that.”

pic1Eve’s newest series showcases how artificial that distinction is. Even while the jewelry pieces are works in progress, they evoke the sensual engagement of a Klimt painting through their use of colors and shapes. However she says not to expect mirror images of the Klimt patterns, or the reproduction of accessories in the paintings.

“One of the things that has made me even more cautious is that Klimt has been appropriated so much. You can get a Klimt bedspread that’s one of the pieces- so I realize people might expect that,” she said drily. “I hope they will understand that it is not an appropriation, or an exact replica.”

One of Eve’s expressed goals is to produce pieces that convey intense sensual effects paralleling Klimt’s work, and a small pair of pearl earrings, simply constructed, brings to mind his use of off-kilter patterns and textures. At first glance, the earrings look identical. But the pearls are not quite the same shape and size, and the difference between them only highlights the similarity in their trimmings, which consist of tiny rubies and wire.

The rubies show up frequently in the sketches and completed pieces for the jewelry series. Interestingly, they are almost never the focal point of the jewelry piece; rather they provide a tiny splash of color in the midst of the triangles and spirals that are reminiscent of Klimt’s use of eyes and ‘trees of life.’

“It means plentitude, it expresses fullness. It’s a very expressive stone. It’s the blood, but it’s also the life,” Eve said when asked about the rubies.

She described Klimt’s paintings in similar terms, speaking fondly of the fullness of Klimt’s paintings and how they cover every inch of the canvas on which they stand. There’s no space unused in a Klimt painting, and Eve hopes to convey some of that richness in her jewelry.

pic2“I like to have a certain depth- to express a message in different ways. So you get one impression, maybe from the lushness of the materials, the textures, the cabochon rubies, the warmth of the gold- and gradually also feel- the other things I’m trying to convey- the riches of experiences and the sensuality- I’d like for the whole to be more than the sum of the parts.

“I’d like people to feel when they see the piece that there’s an underlying intelligence at work- that it isn’t merely an object.”