'Gardens of Light' shines at Carnegie

| Friday, April 12, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Jewelry resembling botanicals and insects is getting a new life in the world premiere of the “Gardens of Light” display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland.

The exhibit of works by New Mexico's Paula Crevoshay opens April 13 and runs through Aug. 11 at the Wertz Gallery, part of the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems.

“All that we were trying to do is create an exhibit that shows how nature mimics nature and how man mimics nature,” jewelry artist Crevoshay says. “We are blurring the lines between two disciplines (of science and art).”

The display is presented in cases on each side and the back wall of the gallery and is made up of artwork that examines and reflects ecosystems.

• In a selection of Crevoshay's gem-laden orchids, each plant is paired with an insect from the museum's invertebrate zoology collection that would pollinate that type of orchid.

• A look at the green role in nature uses emeralds for jewelry depicting leaves and insects.

• Water and the seas are represented with pieces using the blue of opals.

In each of the displays, a chunk of the gem or mineral that is the source of the art rests alongside to create the link between art and nature.

From the orchids to a tiny spider pin, these pieces look at the interdependence of the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.

Some of the works in the exhibit are for sale. Crevoshay says one of them, “Midnight Seduction,” featuring an abalone pearl, was sold April 9 at the Carnegie during a preview.

All of the works are shown in the exhibit book, “Garden of Light: Works by Paula Crevoshay” ($29.95), on sale at the museum bookstore. The book also lists which works are for sale.

Crevoshay says the exhibit has its roots at the Carnegie. Marc Wilson, collection manager and head of the section of minerals at the museum, and Samuel Taylor, former director of the museum, had met Crevoshay “on the dusty trail” in gem-and-mineral work in the past, she says. In December 2011, she says, Taylor suggested she do this kind of exhibit.

She says she had been thinking of such an exhibit of “all the green of the garden, spiders, dragonflies and all things winged.” Taylor's interest pushed her over the brink, and she began work on it.

The display took more than a year to put together. She says she didn't think she had really accomplished the job until two or three months ago.

She says two other museums — one in the United States and one “overseas” — are in discussions about displaying the exhibit after it leaves here.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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