Most artists dream of having their work exhibited in a major American gallery and few are invited to do so, without having to sell their artistic soul. For an artist who is asked, out of the blue, without self-purging, this usually only happens in dreams.
Not so for contemporary jewelry artist Zoe Brand, who lives and works in Yuin Country, in the small community of Majors Creek near Braidwood.
The artist was recently invited to exhibit 20 pieces of her one-of-a-kind work at Sienna Patti, USA, one of the world’s leading design galleries. The gallery presents unique pieces by contemporary designers, with works exhibited and then offered for sale.
It’s no surprise that Zoe was invited to show her work in the gallery. It is unlike any other. She uses words, everyday words that she hears on the radio, reads in a book or overhears in revival, to shape her pieces. The jewelry is strong, elegant, and there almost always seems to be an element of humor not too far off.
His work can be at the end of a chord, a pin, a sign – whatever artistically comes to his mind at the time. She works with a variety of mediums, from silver to powder coated aluminum, but her work seems all guided by her chosen text. One of her favorite sources is something her mother-in-law gave her – “it’s a wonderful book called 15,000 useful phrasesdated 1917″.
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“As a longtime admirer of Sienna and her gallery, I was especially thrilled when she contacted me to see if I would like to send her work,” Zoe said. With such a short deadline to send the work to the United States, Zoe sent works she had already done as well as a few new pieces, including a work titled better, an etched acrylic piece, clearly designed to bring out the best in whoever wears it.
“I almost lost my mind when she texted me saying she wanted to show my work. I thought, ‘do you know me?
“But she understood it. She understood what I did.
Although having her work showcased overseas is a huge boon to her career, Zoe said it took her around 10 years to get there.
Born in Brisbane, Zoe, 38, completed her BFA in Goldsmithing at the Australian National University in Canberra in 2014, completing her degree with first class honors also at ANU the following year.
She has since exhibited worldwide, including France, Germany, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia.
Zoe, her partner Keith and their two children, Mae, 3, and Kit, 15 months, moved to Majors Creek about four years ago. Keith’s family had lived near Reidsdale for about 30 years, so it felt like coming home.
Zoe said the place she lived in had special qualities that often inspired her work. She said that while it was the most beautiful place to live, nature didn’t always creatively drive what she did.
“But what I love about this place is that it’s just the best place to raise your kids – there’s so much space,” she said.
“It lets me do whatever I want to do, even though I almost always have a kid strapped to my hip when I do it.”
The artist said she prefers her work to speak for herself.
“That’s why I don’t approach galleries myself,” she said.
“If they want something, they will approach me.
“For me, art has always been about connection. If you make great art, that’s how you get noticed.
“I constantly make plays, but I make them for myself. Everything I do always seems to have had a personal bent.