The Body Electric

1 — 22 Apr 2017 at the Gallery Loupe in Montclair, United States

The Body Electric. Courtesy of Gallery Loupe
The Body Electric. Courtesy of Gallery Loupe
27 MAR 2017

I sing the body electric,...Oh I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul, O I say now these are the soul!

(from I Sing the Body Electric by Walt Whitman)

Gallery Loupe is proud to present a most intriguing group exhibition of works by Steven Gordon Holman, Matt Lambert, and Zachery Lechtenberg, three dynamic young jewelers that spring from diverse aesthetic platforms but celebrate the human spirit along with the body.

Lambert regards his objects as armor, serving to protect the wearer physically, philosophically, spiritually, and psychologically. Nonetheless, he seeks interaction with the viewer, and his newest output reflects that position through the use of mirrors, which may act to deflect and distract but by forcing the viewer to become a participant, he or she assumes the role of "wearer" as well. Holman, meanwhile, utilizes both actual animal skulls and antlers, as well as carved potatoes and woven synthetic tape, to fabricate trophy-like fetish necklaces and brooches triggered by childhood memories of his upbringing in Utah's Western Desert, specifically the creation myths of the region's indigenous peoples and legends passed down from Norse settlers, mixed with personal family lore and markers from urban culture. Popular culture is the backbone of Lechtenberg's narrative, based in contemporary cartoon imagery and realized through the exacting technique of champlevé. His colorfully eccentric cast of characters populate pendants, brooches, necklaces, and laser-engraved enamel plates, with each jewel sporting an incised message on the reverse and housed in a dedicated box topped by a hand painted illustration.

All three artists celebrate gender and masculinity, whether with humor or gravitas, nature or abstraction. Lechtenberg channels animator Matt Groening's The Simpsons, pop imagery by artist/designer KAWS, and painter Takashi Murakami's figurative synthesis of "high" and "low" art, along with visual imagery in the music videos of hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. Lambert is inspired by artist Annette Messager's My Vows, assemblages of small individual photographs of body parts hung in configuration by simple strings, as well as Sufism, the mystic Islamic search for truth. Holman's iconography rests in contemporary hunting culture, talismans, amulets, and objects of remembrance.

Lambert, Holman, and Lechtenberg are all thinking jewelers, bringing the advantages of intense study in a variety of disciplines to their respective practices. Lambert holds a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and BFA from Wayne State University, which he received summa cum laude, in addition to a BA in psychology cum laude and with departmental honors, also from Wayne State. He is a 2017 recipient of the Next Generation Award from Surface Design, and he was invited by the IASPIS to be an International Resident in visual arts and design (2016-2017) in Stockholm. Lechtenberg received a BFA from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and MFA from East Carolina University, where he studied under Robert Ebendorf, who considers him one of the most promising young jewelers working today. Holman received a MFA from SUNY New Paltz and BA in Architectural Studies and Visual Arts (with honors) from Brown University.