Donna Brennan: Hortus Conclusus

12 June – 14 July 2018

Working with stones, minerals, gold and silver, my work explores the nature/artifice dichotomy, transporting stones and minerals from the realm of nature into the realm of culture.

Donna Brennan is a fine art jeweller who has adopted a cross-disciplinary approach to photography and sculptural jewellery, crafting a narrative from image to object which, blurs the dichotomy between fine art and applied art.

This body of work is a major development in London-based jeweller and photographer Donna Brennan’s practice. For over 20 years, she has been creating small-scale, wearable sculptural forms composed of precious and semiprecious stones that explore refraction and the interplay of light. In the early 1990s, she pioneered a unique technique of enamelling on crystal. First shown at COLLECT Open at the Saatchi Gallery in February 2018, Hortus Conclusus is Brennan’s first concept-driven installation in the UK, and also the first time she incorporates her photography into an exhibition. CAA is delighted to show this unique installation in our gallery setting, giving visitors ample time and space in which to fully explore and contemplate this layered and conceptually-ambitious work.

Brennan explores the materiality of a 2D image by adding an embellished third dimension which has been extracted and crafted – or ‘borrowed’ – from the photographic image upon which it is mounted. The images are laminated with a faceted lucite façade, which acts as a beacon for the interplay of light and imparts a sense of intrigue. Creating a view finder to an inner world, the lucite object creates a microcosm within the macrocosm of the larger image – a ‘hortus conclusus’, an enclosed garden of veritable earthly delights.

Derived from the Latin term for ‘enclosed garden’, Hortus Conclusus is a series of wearable sculptural art pieces, crafted from a mélange of minerals, stones, gold, bronze and silver and presented against an ethereal photographic backdrop of dye-sublimation floral images printed on aluminium.

Special Event: Meet the Maker

'From Nature to Artifice in Art Jewellery'
Saturday 30 June, 3-5pm

Donna Brennan will share her approach to developing this multi-disciplinary collection, which embraces both photography and fine art jewellery. Using photographs to chart the development of Hortus Conclusus, which was in part inspired by a visit to the Munich Mineral Fair, she will discuss both sides of her practice with close inspection of the brooches.

This event is free and informal. Talk begins at 3pm. 

‘Hortus Conclusus’ 2018, Dye Sublimation Print on Aluminium mounted on glass over a Giclee Print on Hahnemuhle German Etching 310gsm, 925 Blackened Silver Brooch with hand faceted lucite mounted on a Dye Sublimation Print on Aluminium, and Opals.
(Photos top: Richard Valencia, above: 
Sophie Mutevelian)



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