In this Ockham Lecture, Linda Tyler will share her knowledge of John Edgar, his practice and contribution to Aotearoa jewellery.
As well as assessing his contribution as a curator, this lecture will assess the degree to which Edgar's own work manifested the values and "awarenesses" which he articulated as part of the 1988 exhibition Bone, Stone, Shell.
As a curator as well as an artist, John Edgar holds a significant place in histories of craft in Aotearoa.
The 1988 exhibition Bone, Stone, Shell is now seen as a turning point in jewellery histories when there was a shift away from European and American modernisms and a revaluing of Pacific-based traditions and natural materials. The 12 artists included had to use the materials specified in the brief which gave the exhibition its title.
John Edgar wrote in the catalogue: "This exhibition is about awareness – of our heritage of Western civilisation and our cultural environment in the South Pacific; of our place in the twentieth century and the values necessary to survive the nuclear age; of the delicate fragility of our ecology and our relationship to the natural materials and the non-renewable resources of our region; of the celebration of the forces that formed these materials and the life within them; and, of the ability to communicate in objects of beauty, spirit and power."
Linda Tyler completed her PhD on nineteenth century botanist and museum worker John Buchanan, and her MA on émigré architect Ernst Plischke. She is currently the convenor of Museums and Cultural Heritage at the University of Auckland. As a curator, her projects for 2019 include an art exhibition at the New Zealand Maritime Museum to commemorate the visit of the Endeavour to Aotearoa in 1769, and Sculpture in the Gardens.
The Ockham Lecture series is an annual programme of lectures and panel discussions across different themes that critically engage with craft, design and architecture. This programme is supported by Objectspace's Lead Partner Ockham Residential.