The Dowse launches first survey exhibition of Jane Dodd jewellery

Feb 19 2021

The Dowse Art Museum presents the first major survey of contemporary jeweller Jane Dodd in a new exhibition titled Wild Domain: The Natural History of Jane Dodd Jewellery.

Opening on Saturday 20 February, Wild Domain brings together works from Jane’s most well known exhibitions and bodies of work spanning her 30 year jewellery practice. From her works in the mid-90s that explored aspects of landscapes and geography through projects such as Ends of the Earth to her most recent journey into the world of taxonomies and scientific classifications with The Family. Opening during the golden anniversary year of The Dowse, the exhibition is a long overdue recognition of Dodd’s pivotal contribution to Aotearoa’s modern jewellery art, and part of The Dowse’ wider commitment to showing artists working in contemporary jewellery.

“Jane has been working in contemporary jewellery for decades building a very unique and highly covetable practice that has attracted a considerable number of followers both here and overseas,” says Karl Chitham, Director of The Dowse and curator of the exhibition. “Her work is distinctive and very recognisable, which combined with her strong point of view, sets her and her practice apart from a lot of other contemporary jewellers.”

Filled with a menagerie of creatures, landscapes and stories, Wild Domain explores Jane’s interest in highlighting humankind’s place in, and impact on, the environment and the evolutionary chain we are so intrinsically part of. “Janes work has a key message about humankind’s impact on the environment and the many species we share it with – a topic that is incredibly urgent globally.

“At the same time she explores the possibilities of natural materials, transforming and manipulating them in a way that people really respond to. Each work has its own character that its owner can have a relationship with. They become more than jewellery or adornment – they become members of the family,” continues Karl.

Jane explains, “I want to look at issues of extinction and infestation, cruelty and conflict: issues that arise at every branch of our Family Tree, affecting coral, ants, magpies, elephants. I want to challenge our ideas of animal intelligence, and exalt different sensory strengths and acumen. I want to berate us for thinking we are above or distinct from the natural world. I want us to feel that we are being watched and that stock is being taken. I want us not to get away with it.”

Wild Domain is part of The Dowse Art Museum’s 50th Anniversary programme. It continues the commitment to highlighting contemporary Aotearoa jewellery practice that was explored in projects such as the New Zealand Jewellery Biennale (1994, 1996, 1998, 2001), Made in Aotearoa: Jewellery by Alan Preston (2007), Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery (2014) and The Language of Things: Meaning and Value in Contemporary Jewellery (2018).

Jane Dodd, Modern Artist, 2016. Courtesy Guy Muir collection.