|By DIANE HEILENMAN ©
From Dec. 3, 1999
All that glitters is not gold.
It is sterling silver.
Luminous, polished, matte, scored, engraved, filigreed, bent, twisted, wired and enameled, it is sterling silver.
The range is dazzling, from plain and buffed to brilliant, married to costly jewels, engaged with lowly but intriguing found objects, or shaped into objects from beehives to three-tier wedding cakes.
The Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery has taken its annual holiday show of this-and-that saleable items and jazzed it up to significant exhibition status. This year's ''Holidazzle,'' sponsored by Republic Bank, also is a national silver invitational.
The state of silver in the nation's art studios at the close of 1999 is complemented by a second exhibition that presents a tour de force of Kentucky jewelry makers. All seems well in those studios too.
These two shows, and scores more of jewelry and small object exhibitions at most area galleries, add up to an arresting array of art-shopping opportunities in Louisville during the holidays.
There is, in the sampling, a lot of the merely luscious, expensive, pretty and precious. But there also are items that address the need for objects to transcend the consumer mentality.
At ''Holidazzle'' the range swings mostly between adornments for the festive person and those for the festive table. Much is opulent, like the sleekly geometric silver server by Barbara Nilausen-K of Iowa City, Iowa, which she calls ''Serving Up the Millennium,'' or the elaborately delicate and precious demitasse spoon by Lynda Laroche or Indiana, Pa.
Other items reflect a sense of history and wit, including the work of Dawn Estrin and George Wilson of Williamsburg, Va. They pair old photos, often of cabaret scenes, with tiny silver boxes and shaped holders, like the apple/heart-shaped earrings enclosing a bright red, graphically ambiguous image of lipsticked lips pursed like an apple and called ''Forbidden Fruit.''
A few works are more pensive, including the reliquary jewelry of Ann Jenkins, a former Louisvillian now living in Bar Harbor, Maine. She places a fragment of the natural world, a seed or bit of shell or coral, in tiny glass and silver boxes hung on necklaces and bracelets like miniature talismans of a disappearing world.
A more substantial sense of personal objects as meaningful acquisitions occurs in the exhibition of works in "Kentucky Jewelry" curated by Marcy Werner.
Notable items include captivating beaded amulet bags by Cynthia Cox of Louisville and dramatic over-the-top presentations by Libby Barnes of Nicholasville that include a turtle shell turned into magic jewelry chalice. It is not your standard gift fare; as Barnes writes, ''My art is an attempt to understand death as a part of life.''
Altogether, there are nearly 100 artists represented at the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery. The works of the national contingency are on view through Jan. 8; the works of the Kentuckians are on view through Jan. 2.
The Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery, 609 W. Main St., Louisville, is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 20. The gallery closes at 2 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Silver: Participating Artists
Gallen Benson, Elyn Blake, Peggy Cochran, Esther Davies, Cynthia Eid, Mary Elwyn, Dawn Estrin & George Wilson, Kathlean Gahagan, Michael Gard, Matthew Hollern, Ann Jenkins, Michael Jerry, Peggy Johnson, Dahlia Kanner, Lonna Keller, Curtis LaFollette, Lynda Laroche, Melissa Lovingood, Marci Margolin, Lee Angelo Marraccini, Swantee Mehta, Eleanor Moty, Barbara Neilhausen-K, Brigid OHanrahan, Kamelia Hongja Okim, Robert Rogers, Richard & Roz Roney-Dougal, Lisa Slovis, Holly Stults, Ann Thompson, Linda Threadgill, M. Avigail Upin, Linda Weiss, Gina Westergard, Susan Wood-Onstad, Yugo Yagizawa
Jewelry: Participating ArtistsDanny Barnes, Libby Barnes, Barbara Begley, Janey Boyer,
Sandra Corlett, Cynthia Cox, Brenda Dicks, Patricia DAngelis, Tim Glotzbach, Patty
Hood, David Hungerford, Jack Jackson, Chris Jensen, Susan Lee, Andy Long, Agent Love,
Caitlin McClanahan, Dennis Meade, Lona Northener, Kate Noye, Andy Schuman, Rachel Savane,
Bill Vassallo, Julia Weber