Award-winning jeweler Amy Beeler, of Oregon, is the first jewelry artist to be honored with a solo exhibition at the University of Maine Museum of Art.
The show opens April 3 and runs through June 7.
The 21-piece exhibition, “Passion and Adornment,” features some of the most intense, innovative and visually dramatic work of Beeler’s career, she said.
“What's most intriguing is that Beeler encourages us to question the notion of jewelry and adornment,” said George Kinghorn, director of the University of Main Museum of Art in Bangor. “They are sculptures masquerading as wearable pieces. Above all, the exhibition investigates the idea of jewelry as sculpture, as art object.”
Kinghorn discovered Beeler’s work while serving as a judge at the 2013 Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in Tampa, Fla., at which Beeler received the prestigious Anniversary Award.
Beeler graduated from Bowling Green University in Ohio in 2000 with a B.F.A. in studio art. She is a 10-year veteran of the art fair circuit, and her work has appeared in galleries and group exhibitions across the country.
Locally, she has won Best of Show awards at the University of Toledo’s Art On The Mall and the Upper Arlington Festival; an Award of Excellence at the Columbus Winterfair; and awards at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green and the Crosby Gardens Festival of the Arts in Toledo.
She is a regular exhibitor at the annual Toledo Area Artists exhibition at Toledo’s Museum of Art. Her work also is displayed at The Collector’s Corner at the Toledo Museum of Art and at the River House gallery in Perrysburg.
Beeler works primarily in silver, using the lost-wax casting method.
Her work is heavily influenced by nature and captures the interplay between the dynamic forms and intricate details of plants, seed pods and other organic materials.
“As much as I like the idea of being a big-city kind of girl, I am still a farm kid at heart,” said Beeler. “Nature helps me express myself. I’ve always found that using the seed pods give a depth to my work. There is a part of a seed pod that is so in tune with how I want to express human emotions -- beauty, fear, a multitude of other ideas.”
Although most of her art fair work focuses on strictly functional pieces, her latest gallery pieces trend in a more abstract, sculptural direction.
“I was at a crossroads with my work – wearable pieces for the art fairs versus larger conceptual pieces – and was inspired by this opportunity to expand my work,” Beeler said. “Each of the pieces for this show needed to make its own statement – to stand strong and alone, almost as a sculpture.
“This opportunity came along at the perfect time, and I am truly grateful,” she said. “Having my work in a solo exhibition at a museum of art is a dream come true.”
View her work, including pieces that will be exhibited in Maine, on her website, www.amybeeler.com.