Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kim, the reliquarian and keeper of time

Kim, the keeper of time
by Judy Takács

Kim Mettee’s home, her art and her life are reliquaries. She collects artifacts and concepts from nature, history, artisans, and the world, and incorporates them into individually and exquisitely crafted jewelry. She is also an expert photographer, and elegantly shows us the details and intimate qualities of her wearable art through her blog, Colour Stories, and facebook page.

Kim delights in the tactile design qualities of a Job’s tear seed, a sliver ornament long separated from ancient tribalwear, or a skein of handcrafted exotic fiber.

When I asked her to pose for Chicks, I had artistically selfish motivations.

First, I love the way Kim looks. She is lean, tanned and at that perfect age where her face is just beginning to become truly fascinating . I had painted her once before, and called that portrait, “The Reliquarian.” For that painting she wore a mauve and maroon Afghani wedding dress, along with her beloved selection of antique silver jewelry. 

The Reliquarian
by Judy Takács

When I showed the painting, several people commented that Kim looked like one of the ancient women in the Bible (Sarah, Rebekkah, Esther…women with names like that). Though, I wasn’t thinking “Bible”, I was happy that these viewers felt Kim’s timeless presence. And, given that our vision of what these biblical characters “looked like” was from images painted by artists like Rembrandt, Artemesia Gentileschi and Michelangelo, I felt especially complimented.

I also knew that since Kim is an artist herself, she’d come up with something fascinating and visually compelling for her ball concept. She did.

detail from Kim, the keeper of time

She had me at Alpaca Yarn Balls.

Kim took her ball choice to heart and went to the Alpaca Fiber Studio. This shop is right next to the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, where Kim has taught jewelry design for the past 15 years. She shows and sell her work at the Bell Street Gallery shop within the art center. Kim often incorporates this sumptuously designed yarn into the wearable art she creates.

detail from Kim, the keeper of time
detail from Kim, the keeper of time
The yarns she chose comes in skeins which she then had to roll into balls.

I’ve had to roll yarn into balls only a very few times in my life. When I do, though, I sit down, pull the end out of the skein and start rolling. 10 minutes later…or by the next commercial if I’m doing it in front of the TV…I have a yarn ball, and I’m on to other business.

Kim, on the other hand, because she luxuriates in the sensuous quality of all aspects of life, found herself mesmerized by the process and put herself into what I imagine was a Zenlike trance. The regular movements of her arms as she pulled and rolled became symbolic and heavy with meaning, memories and the passage of time; all of which she contemplated while she rolled.

She told me about this process using many repeated graceful arm movements. For the painting I knew two arms weren’t nearly enough to truly convey the complexity of Kim’s experience in time and space as she actually created her own balls.

I fell in love with every aspect of this portrait, the skin, the pose, the hair…and the yarn. The ordered organic quality of this handmade yarn was a joy to paint, as was Kim and her creative and timeless presence.

I call this painting, Kim, the keeper of time.

Mark your calendars
and if you can swing it, make your plans…
Chicks with Balls is traveling to Pennsylvania!

Chicks with Balls:
Judy Takács Paints Unsung Female Heroes

Schulman Gallery
Luzerne County Community College

Gallery Talk: Friday Night October 24th at 5:30

Opening Reception Immediately Follows until 8:30

And, I’m teaching a workshop at the college on
Saturday and Sunday October 25th and 26th.

Oil Painting the Figure and Face
with Personality and Grace…

two day painting workshop with instructor Judy Takács.

Luzerne County Community College
Schulman Gallery
1333 South Prospect Street
Nanticoke, PA
Show Dates October 24th through December 9th