With this exhibition Ornamentum introduces the work of Samuel Gassman, an outsider-artist of the contemporary jewelry scene, presented for the first time at Ornamentum. Fascinating compositions of fabric, metal and collected historical ephemera housed in hand-made boxes that are as intrinsic to the works as the buttons, figurines, textiles and other curiousities that comprise the jewelry pieces housed within. Referred to as Rag Jewels by Gassman, each wearable (and its box), demonstrates a painstakingly-obsessive personality creating collages that speak to Victorian-fancy and flea-market-rummaging simultaneously. We struggle to know exactly where Gassman’s work fits in the grand scheme of contemporary jewelry movements, and find that this makes it all the more intriguing.
A multi-facetted persona/ artist, Gassman's background includes gemology, language studies, antiques and most evident in his work, a lifetime love of sewing. His artworks can be found in collections such as the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY; the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France; the Grassi Museum, Leipzig, Germany; the Museo Arte Contemporano (MAC), Santiago, Chile. He also created an International Human Rights Flag that has been on display at the United States Embassy in London, England since 2012.
artwork photos: Leopold Masterson