July 8 – August 7
KIFF SLEMMONS – on and off the wall
In many cultures, paper is considered precious and this is not more true than in the hands of Kiff Slemmons. Working for the past ten years in collaboration with the artisans at Arte Papel in Oaxaca Mexico, the paper is cut, folded, inked, and wrapped to make jewelry. The majority of materials used in creating the paper jewelry are regionally grown in Mexico. Local plant dyes are extracted for the natural colors and man-made dyes produce the vivid colors. Cactus juice is used to size the paper and the forms are all hand made by local artisans. The jewelry is abstract and structural, like bones; with a skin of natural and dyed colors, it is sensual and tactile. Slemmons original designs began with a few basic forms; she has now repeated, recombined, enlarged, reduced and re-contextualized these elements in myriad variations. Paper is the site of poetry, the site of drawing, and in this jewelry, the unexpected site of both.
Kiff Slemmons was born in 1944 in Maxton, North Carolina and was raised in Adel, Iowa. In 1968, she received a BA in art and French from the University of Iowa, where her undergraduate studies included a year at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has been influenced by the chance and transformation of Dada and Surrealist theory and the focus on materials and structure in Constructivism. Equally important to her is the love of language, tools, and the printed word that she acquired from her father, a newspaper publisher and editor. A self-taught metalsmith who has been exhibiting for more than 30 years. The daughter of a newspaper publisher and editor, language and the written word have important roles in her work. Her work can be found in permanent collections around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Mint Museum, North Carolina; Contemporary Museum, Hawaii; and the Tacoma Art Museum, Washington.