Friday, April 16, 2010

IRENE METAXATOS

During a turbulent period in the 3rd century, Greece saw the destruction of the magnificent Temple of Olympian Zeus by pillaging barbarians.

Having seemingly never undergone any restorations, only fifteen, standing columns remain. Greece is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Irene Metaxatos.

The alumna of London Metropolitan University, who received a Master of Fine Arts in silversmithing, adheres to a design aesthetic that starkly contrasts the grandeur of pieces from Greece's ancient times.

Her ultra simplistic fine silver and 18-karat gold structures, with their straightforward, clean lines are reminiscent of items created by Japanese designer Ema Takahashi.

Intrigued by simple construction dimensions, Metaxatos creates pieces with minimal use of gemstones choosing instead to increase visual depth by folding or overlapping the metal, which in turn creates unusual surface textures. Even with the addition of contrasting white, oxidized, and glowing yellow metals her pieces remain immaculately plain.

However, as I viewed the slightly irregular coils and circles of her Swirl items, I took note that like Sadie Wang (Korea) and Melissa Joy Manning (USA), following an understated design approach is not reflective of playing it safe. The focus is actually a keen interest in purity of line and form.

In my opinion an elaborate piece of jewelry can sometimes seem overdone because there is too much of one particular element such as a cluster of gemstones; or the overall arrangement of a piece is cluttered. In other instances, elaborate pieces are a marvel of execution as the designer chooses just the right balance of materials.

In the end, whether elaborate or simple, the beauty of a piece boils down to balance and this aspect is probably more readily seen in simplistic pieces.

I like that Metaxatos is confident in this streamlined subtlety as beauty in jewelry is not something that only bold and striking arrangements possess.
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Photo 1 (top right): Fine Silver Fold Bands and Bangle
Photo 2 (bottom left): Fine Silver Swirl1 Loop Necklace
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