BGSU artist’s necklace now part of Toledo art museum collection

"Substance" by Masako Onodera


BOWLING GREEN, O.—The Toledo Art Museum has recently purchased something of “Substance” for its permanent collection. BGSU artist Masako Onodera’s oversized necklace of oblong glass globules strung on silk cord is part of the 92nd annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition. It was selected to be part of the collection by Dr. Jutta-Annette Page, TMA curator of glass and decorative arts.

The museum does not often buy works from the annual show, Page said. “The stars have to be alignment for an acquisition to happen,” she explained. In this case, they fell exactly into place: Philanthropist Dorothy MacKenzie-Price of Maumee, who is a longtime supporter both of the arts and of BGSU, volunteered to donate the funds to purchase a piece for the collection. “She was delighted to be able to help the museum and a Bowling Green artist,” said Susan Palmer, the museum’s director of development.

Page said she had been tracking Onodera’s work for some time. “Masako’s work always stands out. ‘Substance’ is a perfect example of her unique approach to jewelry and the body and her ability to combine those worlds. She understands the body from a physiological and very tactile point of view.”

Because of its imposing size and style, it is not something the wearer will forget she has on. “Wearing it reminds you of your body,” said Onodera. The hundreds of rubber-coated glass beads have a softly rounded, organic feel, “and it makes a nice noise,” she said. Though the materials are everyday, “it’s precious because it’s part of your body.”

“Substance” is part of a series that includes jewelry made from felted wool and rubber grapes. Also oversized, the other pieces have a whimsical feel. Though the materials vary from piece to piece, the series is united by its color palette of soft roses, corals and creams.

“As jewelry gets larger, people become intimidated about wearing it,” Onodera added. “It dominates your body and becomes like a parasite.”

She explored this idea further in a more sculptural show mounted at the International Museum of Surgical Science in 2009. The installation exhibit featured giant-sized jewelry that patrons could actually put on, and mirrored walls in which to see themselves and take photos. “I wanted people to be able to touch and wear the pieces,” the artist said.

The Toledo Area Artists Exhibition runs through Aug. 22.
                                                   

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(Posted August 16, 2010 )