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Tex Gieling: Sixty Years

November 17, 2018 – February 24, 2019
VIP & Press Preview
Friday, November 16, 2018

San Francisco, CA. September 2018 – The Museum of Craft and Design is pleased to present Tex Gieling: Sixty Years, opening on November 17, 2018 and featuring work by metal arts legend, Imogene “Tex” Gieling.

Founder of the metal arts departments at the University of California, Berkeley in 1956 and San Francisco State University in 1965, jewelry has been a lifetime commitment for Tex Gieling. Her commitment to her practice is abundantly evident in the 60 years of work on display at the Museum of Craft and Design. Tex Gieling: Sixty Years, guest curated by Elizabeth Shypertt, begins in the 1940s and continues through the 1990s, accentuating a period of creative intensity following Gieling’s retirement in 1991.

Showing works from the artist’s private collection, as well as pieces on loan from the Oakland Museum of California, Tex Gieling: Sixty Years highlights Gieling’s prolific practice and visually charts her creative and technical shifts and growth over a lifetime. Born in 1923 in Corsicana, Texas, Gieling began studying art in 1940 at Texas State College for Women in Denton, Texas. There she studied sculpture briefly under Lázló Moholy-Nagy (of Bauhaus fame) and Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hoffman. Hoffman taught her that “composition was absolutely everything in the world, and it had to be underlying everything you did.”[1] To this day, she says she composes things the way she learned from Hoffman.

Though her jewelry is considered art, she resists the term “art jewelry” because of its connotation as being more concerned with concept than functionality. Primarily known for her work in sterling silver, Gieling often incorporated gold, pearls, semi-precious and precious stones into her designs. Eventually, she graduated from sterling silver to predominantly using gold, and now, in her 90s, feels comfortable calling herself a goldsmith, a term reserved by the European Guilds for masters in the craft.

In her teaching and in her practice, Gieling never wished to go the route of industrial jewelry makers, pumping out scores of identical pieces. Instead, she opted to create one-of-a-kind, unique pieces, often based on commissions.

“I really have tried to assess what it is that I love so about trying to make jewelry. First of all, it’s being able to handle all this incredibly beautiful material… What you do in the material should be something that is equal; the idea should be equal to the material itself. Your position as a jeweler is to enhance the material.” –Imogene (Tex) Gieling

Notes guest curator Elizabeth Shypertt, “Tex has been extremely influential in the Bay Area and beyond, teaching metal arts to hundreds of students and training the next generation of instructors, while at the same time producing an extensive body of her own work. The Museum of Craft and Design’s exhibition deftly illustrates Gieling’s lifetime commitment to metal arts.”

Gieling has been a formative member of the local Metal Arts Guild, an advocacy & teaching group. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths. She continued to produce jewelry and kept a studio as part of the Truesilver Union (which she founded) in San Francisco until recently.

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VIP & Press Preview
November 16, 2018 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm

About the Artist: Tex Gieling
Imogene “Tex” Gieling (1923-) was born and raised in Corsicana, Texas where she learned to draw from her grandfather. She later studied in New York with László Moholy-Nagy, as well as with the German Abstract Expressionist painter, Hans Hoffman. She then moved to Seattle and lived on a houseboat while studying at the University of Washington where she discovered her passion for metal arts.

In the spring of 1950, after finishing her university studies, Tex moved to San Francisco where she worked as a scientific illustrator in order to support her jewelry making. In 1955 she was invited to join the faculty of UC Berkeley to teach design in the Department of Decorative Art. At the same time, Tex finished her graduate degree in metal arts. She stayed at UC Berkeley until 1962 when the university phased out the department where she was teaching. In 1965 Tex was invited to set up a Metal Arts Program at San Francisco State University, formerly San Francisco State College. She taught at SF State for 25 years, until her retirement in 1990. Tex was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), an honor presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of metalsmithing.

Media Contact: Wendy Norris, Norris Communications
(415) 307-3853 or wendy@norriscommunications.biz

[1] Jo Lauria, “Interview of Imogene Gieling”, November 21, 2008, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Above Image: Brooch; 1990s. Sterling silver, 18k gold, druzy quartz, amethyst, diamonds.
Photography by Claire Konig. Courtesy of Tex Gieling.

MCDTex Gieling: Sixty Years
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