David Neale ‘Colour Fold’
The latest additions to an ongoing series of works by Melbourne-based jeweller and artist David Neale ‘Colour Fold’ are deftly balanced compositions. Tactile and chalky, they are at once gestural and impressionistic, yet also assume the form of a traditional painting tableaux.
With a nod to Neale’s gold and silversmithing background, these small-scale folded and riveted steel topographies are an extension beyond his practice as a jeweller into an enchanting, layered meditation of texture, colour and scale.
Tell us about the connection between your two practices of art and jewellery making.
Jewellers are obsessed with the play of light on a surface. I’ve been deeply occupied with texturing gold so that its lustre really glows, but I’ve also been doing the opposite – painting over metal. This might seem anti-precious, but I think paint can be like a jewel – it has the same idea of reflecting light as different colours.
It started with brooches, and has now grown to become sculpture-paintings for the wall. Instead of a canvas, I’m painting on sheet-metal assemblages. Each visual element in the composition is carefully cut, folded and riveted on- these are metalwork techniques I’ve honed in my jewellery practice. These are 3d objects really, they have a terrain, a topography- they’re not flat picture planes.
Your works are all quite small in scale, much like your jewellery pieces, they are something to behold as really very precious. Tell us about the scale of the pieces. I imagine it is quite a familiar scale for you to work at?
It’s fascinating; a small blob of one colour will look and feel so different when you paint it as a large field. So its not just the size of the work that is changing scale, but the intensity of the colour needs to be ‘scaled’ too. It is a mind-shift to work on a bigger scale; the sense of intimacy is different. My jeweller’s mind still pays attention to details like, what will the side of the painting look like? I think of the whole painting as an object.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your artworks?
Japanese woodblock prints and Roman frescos although they’re usually figurative – it’s the abstract elements that often really grab me; they have amazing colours and unusual compositions.
Tell us about the use of colour and texture in the artworks
Marble dust is mixed in with the paint to give that mineral, matte, scumbly texture.
I love matte colours that drink in the light, and radiate in a subtle, complex way – like the powdery blue of a fresh blueberry, the dusty silver of moth wing or the velvety black of a burnt stick.
Where would you like to see these hung? Describe the room/space.
Somewhere like Finn Juhl’s house; complex-white walls, relaxed but well-considered eclecticism (not too uptight…)
David Neale ‘Colour Fold’ are available here.
Credits: David Neale