DANCE NIGHT brooch/pendant of sterling silver, wood, digital prints on aluminum, brass, paint, epoxy resin, shown with cable chain; 12.7 centimeters high, 2010. COMING OR GOING brooch of sterling silver, fourteen karat gold, wood, digital prints on aluminum, paper, brass, epoxy resin; 8.3 centimeters high, 2010. SALLY VON BARGEN. Photograph by Larry von Bargen.
Sally Von Bargen

Images as Jewels

The necklace is called Clouds and Companions and it is made of photographic images of pillowy white cumulus clouds and two people walking side by side on a brick street in winter sunshine. Like its no-nonsense name, the necklace, which doubles as a brooch, at first seems straightforward. The pedestrians are likely a man and woman, since one seems to be in a skirt. Both appear to be wearing heavy coats. The clouds arcing above are plump like clouds in a children’s book. The walkers are companions, friends or lovers walking in the winter sun.

And yet there is mystery in this scene. For starters, the walkers have no heads. Their heads have been cropped out of the photographs though their shadows, which precede them like helpful guides, are full-length. The shadows also may have their arms linked, though it is not clear that the walkers do. Then there are the clouds, which on further observation seem to swoosh over the companions like question marks. A storm may be brewing. The black and white images, tinted with amber varnish, are elegiac. Perhaps the walkers are lovers who have fallen out of love, out on a deserted street on a cold day to make their farewells.


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