oil on birch panel
Artist Statement: Julie Strawinski
I have a fascination for jewellery and the symbolism associated with it. It is a lost art of communication. Throughout history, gemstones and flowers had their own special language. An example of this was pearls meant tears or purity, symbolizing the Goddess Venus and diamonds meant everlasting love or eternity. Acrostic jewellery uses the first letter of each gemstone to convey a “secret” message, which often spelt out people’s names or words like ADORE or REGARD. This style peaked during the Victorian Era when decorum prevented the direct expression of feelings and sentiment from being overtly revealed.
This group of painted gemstones is a response to history which has been long forgotten. They are individually hand stretched onto shaped stretchers giving them the impression of being real gemstones. They are reminiscent of Tromp l’oel, which is French for to "deceive the eye". It is a decorative painting technique that uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion, in which the depicted painted objects appear to exist in three dimensions, thus making the gemstones look like giant versions of the real thing.
By changing the scale of these inanimate objects one is forced to observe them in a manner not usual to the naked eye. From glowing pearls, to twinkling diamonds it has been the observations of such arcane gemstones that have informed my practice.