We all present a carefully curated version of ourselves to the world on social media. But who are we, really? Jeweler Whitney Staiger melds together her friends’ public avatar with an aspect of their private selves on her handmade brass cameos in “Friend Me,” her first solo exhibit, presented at The Art League Gallery Dec. 3, 2014–Jan. 5, 2015.
After viewing Kara Walker’s powerful silhouettes in the 2007 exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love,” Staiger walked away inspired. She began integrating drawings of people on metal and piercing them out, combining her 2D and 3D talents, resulting in one-of-a-kind wearable silhouettes.
For “Friend Me,” Staiger wanted to explore how well she really knew her Facebook friends by creating bold necklaces that personified the individual behind the social profile.
The front of the cameos feature the individual’s profile image and vital stats, their “public image,” drawn and sawed out. On the back, Staiger wanted to include something personal, something unexpected. She asked her friends, “Has anyone ever made an assumption about you?” Staiger chose to tackle the topic of assumptions because people are always making them about her. She hand-stamped their candid responses on the back of the cameo, literally cutting through their public persona, to connect the public with the personal.
Staiger earned her bachelor's degree in jewelry and metals from Towson University and is studying to become a Graduate Gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America. Staiger works as a jewelry instructor at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center. She creates original, handcrafted jewelry at her one-person jewelry design business, UDOP.
Opening Reception & Meet the Artist:
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, 6:30–8:00 p.m.