Rupert Baines: Art of the Goldsmith

17 September – 1 November 1992

Gold, silver and titanium are just some of the materials used by Australian goldsmith, Robert Baines, to make his very special jewellery pieces. The Art of the Goldsmith is an exhibition of Baines's jewellery and larger works, such as a silver teapot and coffee pot.

Baines, an Australian master goldsmith with an international reputation, prefers to be known by the ancient term artificer, or one who creates mystical and religious objects by serving the community. This title is inspired by his interest in ancient civilizations and underlies the spiritual approach he takes to his work. Gold pendants, brooches and earrings all have minute silver and gold components joined together by the process of granulation. This ancient technique allows objects to be made through successive firings rather than using solder to adhere one layer to another. By using this method Baines retains the ancient significance of this process in which the surface is not regarded as a superficial decoration, but an integral part and a direct expression of the whole structure.

The works combine various metals contrasting texture and finish to produce exquisitely crafted pieces which are at the same time contemporary and archaic. A box of bones that Baines found in his studio while he was artist in residence at Waikato Polytechnic inspired the Waikato pieces. These works introduce bone used with alloyed gold and silver enhancing the quality of the metals and acting as catalyst for form and content.

In the art of Robert Baines, there is not a particular message to be read but there is a devotion to establishing a continuity between past, present and becoming. Don't miss the opportunity to see the work of this fascinating artist/artificer and experience the creative possibilities of the goldsmith. This exhibition has been organised and is being toured nationwide by Exhibitour MDF New Zealand.

('The Art of the Goldsmith – Robert Baines', Bulletin, No.81, September/October 1992, p.2)

Exhibition number 516