Recently, I had the pleasure of working with the fabulous artist, Jennifer Wolf, on a piece to wear to the opening reception for her new solo exhibition of gorgeous abstract paintings at William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica. She went with a version of the Rajasthan necklace, a piece inspired by the brilliant hot pinks and golds found in the Indian state’s famed Pink City, Jaipur. To make this necklace, I used gilt druzy pendants, gold Swarovski crystals, hot pink and candy apple red jade and African trade beads. I found it interesting that Jennifer was drawn to this necklace - Jaipur is known as the Pink City, because of the pink stone that has been sourced to construct all of its buildings; and Jennifer uses rocks, minerals and natural materials to create her paints, sourcing materials from around the world. I immediately felt a parallel between Jennifer's process of grinding pigment with mortar and pestle and the process of carving stone to build the brilliantly beautiful city in Rajasthan.
The second parallel I was struck by was of course, color. Jennifer’s recent series centers on two colors in particular, pink being one of them, and blue the other, a palette she derives from the natural dyes cochineal and indigo. Cochineal is made from the crushed shells of female Cochineal beetles, insects which are native to South America. This dye has been used for centuries and to the ancient Meso-American civilizations, was once as precious as gold. As you can see in Jennifer’s paintings, this dye is capable of producing a vibrant range of colors, from cotton candy pink to rich violet. Indigo, derived from the plant of the same name, was also prized in the ancient world - used by the earliest civilizations to color cloths a vivid blue. In ancient Egypt, the color was revered, and weavers inserted indigo dyed stripes into the borders of linen cloths used to shroud the departed. Jennifer deftly manages to unite these two dyes (along with the radiant orange of Roussillon Ochre) into a body of work that sings with vitality and vibrance.
When looking at Jennifer’s paintings, one is immersed into a spectacular microcosm of color. You just want to jump inside of them and live there for awhile! They remind me all at once of the very big (our expanding universe) and the very small (the crystalline structures within a grain of sand), bursting with infinite energy and beauty. Prismatic forms dance under translucent layers of crimson, scarlet, fuchsia, violet, indigo blue and orange in a grand ballet of color and texture that simply envelop you. It was an honor to have Jennifer wear SJO JEWELRY to her opening :)
For more on Jennifer's paintings, click here