…..for my upcoming first solo show at Pieces of Eight Gallery (Melbourne) opening 1 October 2013
Raw Detail shows Belinda Esperson’s work in the context of its inspiration – the stark beauty of the dry Australian bush. Her jewellery captures the essence of the bush: the detail, fragments, tones, forms and textures and a sense of weathering integral to this environment, without replicating specific objects.
This exhibition has been inspired by two recent experiences: a camping trip to the outback of the dry tropics of Cape York Peninsula and the photographic exhibition Aftermath by John Gollings at the McClelland Gallery near Melbourne, depicting graphic aerial images of the devastated landscape left by the Black Saturday fires of 2009.
Through form she seeks to capture the honesty and simplicity of casually collected, beautiful bush fragments, tied on a string as a keepsake – the gesture of threading a shell or pebble with a natural hole in it to make a necklace or wrapping a piece of grass around the wrist as a bracelet.
Her pieces express the raw silence, the dusty, dry brittleness of a landscape of tonal variation; the charcoal scarring left by fire, bleached wood and foliage, contrasts of fragility and toughness. Belinda is fascinated by the detail of the curled dried leaves and shards of shedding bark, the chiaroscuric textures and tones of tree trunks, the twiggy scruffiness of the ground, the holes and blemishes on leaves and bark made by insects, and the pod forms of gum nuts and fruit by which means the plants reproduce in this harsh environment.
…Capturing that sense of effortlessness within the detail, without overworking a piece, is her single greatest challenge…
Her work is quiet, modest and comfortable – pieces to be worn every day, becoming part of the wearer and over time reflecting their life and experiences – gracefully ageing like a favourite pair of jeans. Belinda’s work expresses sheer luxury through the materiality and detail of each piece, incorporating precious metals and stones such as rough Australian sapphires seamlessly with more humble materials.
She lives and works in the bushy fringes of inner Melbourne where she gathers inspiration daily on walks along the Yarra River with her dog and in the scruffy wilderness of her garden.