‘I have a collection of small metal objects with holes, arranged in a line on my kitchen wall, gathered over many years. I have never tired of looking at them, I am fascinated by the permeable quality of these objects designed to contain but also not.’

To ‘riddle’ is a seldom used verb that describes the act of putting many holes through something. To riddle also means to pass a substance through a large coarse sieve. With their patterns of tiny holes and porous forms, Curtis’ objects embody the term ‘riddle’ in many of its meanings; not least in their niggly, unsolvable sense of purpose.

Comprised of countless small works, found objects and crafted elements, in sterling silver, 18 carat gold, wallpaper, resin, plastic and Formica. Inside, Outside sees a merging of Curtis’ jewellery making practice with her ongoing interest in the nature of collections, and her love of accumulating small and curious things.

Many of the pieces in the exhibition sit across a continuum of porosity – some are solid, others seem barely there. Numerous objects allow flow, or flow through – water could stream through small holes, a hook could slide through the lip of a fish – yet Curtis’ objects are displaced from such concrete purposes, speaking instead to a wider poetics of insides and outsides, of that which encircles, contains, or filters.

Curtis began making jewellery in 1986, after completing a trade certificate in the craft. Her practice demonstrates a keen sensitivity to the visual dialogues that unfold between objects, whether on public display or at home. Small ‘conversations’ of contrast or similarity arise between these works, with their wide range of textures, shapes and weights. Her display arrangements see pieces divided into lines and clusters; using space to highlight qualities of distinction, and sameness, within the body of the collection. The forms sit or hang with a sense of liveliness and mobility; a feeling that stems perhaps from Curtis’ continual arranging and rearranging of these forms in her work space.


  • Mary Curtis


  • Wed 13 Feb


  • 6:00 pm — 9:00 pm


  • 13 Rose Road
  • Ponsonby, Auckland 1021