Newman has been a rock hound since she was a young girl. She
has always had a passion for geology and a motivation to do
art and design. She began her BFA at Virginia Commonwealth
University in furniture design and then discovered her medium
after taking an “elective” in jewelry design.
In addition to receiving her BFA in jewelry design, she has
honed her skills as master goldsmith and learned to cut stones
and do her own lapidary work for her one-of-a-kind art pieces.
Newman does mostly fabrication, as opposed to casting, using
gold and silver wire and sheets of precious metals, which
she solders, pierces, and texturizes, using a variety of conventional
and unconventional means. Fabrication gives her artwork several
advantages, such as the following: the pieces are one of a
kind; and they are lighter and, therefore, more wearable.
is prolific and multi-talented. She balances the imagination
and skills of an artist with the sensible mind of a businesswoman.
She established her own business, Gold Graphix, in 1988, where
she designs and creates her own work. She also markets and
represents herself by traveling to fine art shows where she
sells her work. Newman is also represented by galleries around
the country and just added a gallery in Sedona and one in
Prescott to her list. She has won numerous awards (too many
to count) for her art in competitions and shows exhibited
all over the East-coast. Her most recent award is a 1st runner-up
(Second Place out of two) in an international competition
hosted by the Lapidary Journal.
At first glance, one might consider Newman a jeweler or a
goldsmith. However, her designs are more appropriately recognized
in the field of fine art. She is indeed a goldsmith and a
fine crafts-person, but she is foremost a fine artist of “wearable
Newman describes herself as in a “transition stage”
in her artwork. She has been enjoying a series of designs
that play off of computer circuit board technology, a design
concept inspired by an object which is unique to the turn
of the second
millennium. For example, one of her favorite pieces is a silver
bracelet with a circuit board design using an ammolite as
a focal point stone. Ammolite is an iridescent stone, which
has deep reds, oranges and greens. In most of her pieces,
like this one, she will use faceted accent stones to bring
out the colors in her focal point stone. In this case, she
uses a square red spinel, a round Mexican fire opal, and a
round green tourmaline. The piece is geometric with circuit
shapes pierced into the design. She also uses yellow gold
and silver for a subtle visual contrast, and then uses texture
for further emphasis.
In contrast is a pendant, which shows a spiral section of
a trilobite fossil nestled in a shell-like shape of textured
silver. The outer shape and setting of silver emphasizes the
archetype of the spiral pattern of the fossil, as the texture
of the silver contrasts the smooth, metallic quality of the
fossil. Then she has made pierced quadrilaterals in the lower
corner of the pendant to echo the rhythm created by the fossil’s
repetitive ridges. The trillion-shaped accent stone both stabilizes
and sets off the overall design of the piece. One’s
eye follows the movement of the spiral shape, round and round
to the accent stone where the attention is directed back to
the fossil and the visual movement begins again.
The fossil pendant is an example of the current work Newman
is transitioning toward, which explores the local landscape
and the geological features found in Utah, like trilobite
fossils. For an avid rock hound, like Newman, this area provides
a lot of inspiration, both in materials to use and designs
to derive from the uniqueness of the local geology.
Another example of the current series Newman is working on
is of the local landscape fabricated in silver and yellow
gold. She uses a long sky-blue oval shaped stone that is remnant
of the vast skies here in canyon country. The rest of the
skyline is textured silver, which is set off by the glossy
gold line of the horizon, cut into the familiar shapes of
the local landscape (like Delicate Arch on the left side of
the composition). A textured river is winding through the
middle of piece, adding further to the composition and balance
of the whole.
Newman is at an interesting artistic juncture between the
modern design qualities of her circuit board work
and the emerging shapes and textures inspired by her immediate
environment here in Moab. She seems to have an awareness of
what is timely and fashionable, while concurrently designing
and creating work which expresses her vision and artistic
spirit. It is a wonderful living paradox to discover an artist
whose creative product is both transcendental and a result
of the environment and its historical moment.
For more information about Wendy Newman visit her website
at www.goldgraphix.com, which has extensive information about
her art work, an online catalog of her “wearable art”.
Private studio tours are available by appointment only, 260-1010.