High Museum of Art to Present Works by Georgia's Acclaimed Jewelry Designer Gogo Ferguson
ATLANTA, June 25, 2012 – The High Museum of Art will celebrate the work of acclaimed Georgia-based jewelry designer Janet Ferguson, known worldwide as Gogo, with the exhibition “Gogo: Nature Transformed” on display from Jan. 19, 2013 to July 7, 2013.
“Gogo: Nature Transformed” – Ferguson’s first museum exhibition – will present the evolution of her creativity, from the genesis of her rattlesnake-inspired clasp and logo to the exploration of a single form, such as bracelets inspired by various flora, fauna and sea life.
The exhibition will present 63 works, including some of Ferguson’s most recognized pieces of jewelry and home wares, examples of her early natural bone designs, and the debut of two new pieces created specifically for the High: a six by eight foot wall sculpture inspired by New England seaweed and an ottoman inspired by a sea urchin.
“‘Gogo: Nature Transformed’ provides an opportunity for all who visit the High to be transported into an unexpected natural world inspired by Georgia’s own Cumberland Island,” said Michael E. Shapiro, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director. “In celebrating this Georgia artist, we look forward to introducing many visitors to Gogo Ferguson’s work and welcoming her many enthusiastic supporters. From Georgia’s rural coast to the biggest cities around the globe, Gogo Ferguson’s iconic designs are now among the jewelry collections of many of the world’s most recognized women and men.”
The importance of nature is visible throughout Ferguson’s designs and though the root of Ferguson’s inspiration remains unchanged, her technique has evolved over time. Originally, she worked with source material combining bones and shells into striking but often fragile works. Eventually, she cast gold and/or silver versions using the lost wax process—a technique that captures every detail of the original objects.
Recently Ferguson started using new technology, leading to the creation of more fluid, interpretive works celebrating the nature of Cumberland Island. For instance, she recently incorporated the high tech method of 3D scanning for some of her most intricate pieces. Ferguson says her wearable and functional designs are about the luxury and elegance of simplicity.
“For the most part you cannot improve on nature’s designs,” Ferguson said. “My whole lifestyle is one of very simple living. I don’t need a lot. I think that’s what the island has taught me.” This appreciation for her natural surroundings greatly informs and enhances Ferguson’s creativity and designs.
A direct descendant of Thomas Carnegie, brother of Andrew, Ferguson grew up and still makes her home as a fifth-generation resident of Cumberland Island. Her work is firmly rooted in the history and iconography of her family and the Georgia barrier island they love. Ferguson’s grandmother, Lucy, believed, as does Gogo, that humans are only a part of nature and must respectfully co-exist within nature. The wild, yet idyllic oceanfront environment of Cumberland Island helped establish the younger Ferguson’s appreciation for nature and became a major artistic inspiration.
Ferguson’s designs encapsulate the region so well, some works were gifted to international leaders who attended the 2004 G-8 Summit Meeting and dignitaries visiting Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. Among Ferguson’s other career milestones are designing wedding rings for John and Carolyn Kennedy and a necklace for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
For the occasion of the High exhibition, Ferguson is collaborating with fashion designer Nicole Miller to create a unique scarf that will commemorate the exhibition and represent Ferguson’s personal passion for the natural world.
A publication of the same title will accompany the exhibition with a foreword from Ferguson’s long-time friend Mikhail Baryshnikov and an interview of Ferguson by Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art curator of decorative arts and design.
Exhibition Organization and Support
This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art with generous support provided by Friends of Gogo and the Isobel Anne Fraser-Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment.
High Museum of Art
Founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, the High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the southeastern U.S. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th century and 20thcentury American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s media arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005 the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High visit www.High.org.
The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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