Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kristeann Fitzpatrick / Victorian Jewelry

Kristeann Fitzpatrick / Victorian Jewelry were both it in terms of title and/or description in the Jersey City Artist Studio Tour guide, part of a large group show taking up most of the Barrow Street Mansion. This jewelry display was off to the side in the hall.


Kristeann did not want her picture taken, nor did she have a website or email address. She was there with her mother. The display featured family heirlooms – the boy in the color photograph was her father -- and reminded me of when I was a child and rummaged through the attic and discovered artifacts from my family – thus American– history. You wonder about the individual and the context of the times in which they live. It’s a mystery –what was life like – but the only answer is that the different clothes, different pictures, personal items – a watch is a watch – only serve to show this person was as human as you are and we may think of the past in terms of events we learn in school and read about in books and use that knowledge to deepen our understanding of the present, how we got here. Our headlines tell us where we are in a history that is happening now. But those trips into the attic tell us something different as well, they have their current events and we have ours but the humanity is the same – we love and have family and friends and good times and bad and the amount of daylight and the amount of nighttime is the same on this date this year as it was this date a hundred years ago.

I wouldn’t trust my opinion on jewelry so why should I even attempt one here? The designs caught my eye – a subtle ornateness. The designs invoke the Victorian era, as did the antique chair and veil and photographs (even though one was in color). The feel was Steam Punk. I love faux-retro, by which I mean an imagined past that ignores accuracy in the service of a romantic reality. This could the jewelry you find in the attic. You feel wistful and melancholic. Nostalgic and sentimental even if the root is far from even your own past.

The fliers they gave out may not have had any contact information but they were wonderfully faux – printed on computer yet on thin “aged”parchment purposely made more delicate by singing the edges of the paper. A souvenir from the bygone years that existed only in dreams – no brick and mortar or cyber store – the handmade pieces appear like apparitions and fade without warning much like how our lives intersect with time itself.


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