Monday, October 8, 2012

Kué King’s Wearable Art: One of a Kinds from One of a Kind

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Every once in a while you meet a person who defies description. Philippine-born artist Kué King, above, is a unicorn among mortals, a spirit completely unbridled and unique; he is truly an original, an authentic, and an artist in every way. Elegant and poetic even in his movement and mannerisms, the way he occupies a space is fascinating. When Kué King is in the room, something beautiful is bound to happen.

St. Francis of Assisi said, “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

No words could ring truer when I look at Kué’s graceful wire sculptures, which are on display now at Living Green Showroom in San Francisco.

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Here is Kué, pictured with his favorite piece, Industrial Spring, $12,000. It’s the twisted wire and feather tree above his head hanging on a pillar in Living Green. The piece glows gently, as it is illuminated from within, much like its creator.

“Through over a decade of studio practice, my work as a sculptor continues to keep me grounded,” Kué said. “It is through the bends and twists of metal threads that I weave a personal narrative of who I am and what I see. These hands are the most complex of all tools involved in this laborious process where the ephemeral becomes metal. I have always felt that the best way to get to know me is to experience my work.”

And although the sculptures are splendid, I am currently obsessed with his wearable art–jewelry and belts, specifically–which are designed with the same technique of twisting and bending metal threads into writhing pieces of art.

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The belts range in price from $1,500-$6,000. Through the process of layering and weaving the elements of copper, brass and silver, the pieces slowly take on a life of their own and will age beautifully due to possibilities of patina.

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Below, Kué is pictured lounging on a Banyan tree root chaise at Living Green, with husband Corbett Griffith, standing, who wears an elaborate gold bird necklace made by Kué.

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The head of the bird in this androgynous piece is encrusted with a brilliant green chrysocolla.

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Titled The Bird of Paradise, it’s much more beautiful in person than could ever be captured on film. In the center of the bird is a rainbow obsidian, Kué told me. “It’s the heart of the bird,” he said. There is something unexpected about each piece. In this case, “it articulates,” he said. “The wings move and the tail wiggles.”

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With inspiration derived from nature as well as history, Kué told me that his new jewelry pieces will resemble modern-day breast plates, or jewels worn by the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.

The pieces, which are named like art, Kué describes as “statement jewelry meets gala wear.” I describe them as: “amazing.”

Take a look at this beauty, below, from Kué’s 2011 collection, made from a web of silver. Pieces like these are timeless…and painstakingly created to transcend fashion and take on a higher form: art.

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“All that I make is tuned with a frequency that holds an essence of what I know is beauty,” Kué said.

For information about Kué King’s sculptures and wearable art, email kue@kueking.com

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