Review: David Neale and Emma Price at Gallery Funaki, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 10th August – 4th September 2010


David Neale. 'Brooch' 2009-10


David Neale (Australian, b. 1977)
Steel, paint, marble, lapis lazuli



A nice double act of an exhibition at Gallery Funaki that showcases the jewellery of David Neale and first time exhibitor Emma Price. Neale’s delicate folded and layered brooches of bud and leaf-life forms sparkle with crushed marble, turquoise and lapis lazuli forming a palette of pale blues, pinks, greens and vibrant hints of red, the shapes almost a form of metal collage. As pieces of art they work excellently but as jewellery they seem fragile perhaps due to the thinness of the metal used and what I perceived as a lack of structural integrity. As brooches I wonder how carefully one would have to wear them (very carefully I suspect) and how long the crushed sparkling rock would adhere to the surface of the metal (I have since been reliably informed by Simon that they are very sturdy but this was an initial reaction on picking up the brooches).

Of more significance are the articulated trapezoid necklaces by Emma Price. These are stunning architectural works (at very reasonable prices!) that are made of gold, silver, brass and copper. They exude a quietness and balance that is beautiful and a playfulness (because of the interlinked forms that actually move) that is delightful. In these geometric forms there seems to be a suspension in/of reality as if the world is hanging by a thread. A bright future awaits for this artist.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to Katie Scott and Gallery Funaki for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



David Neale. 'Brooch' 2009-10


David Neale (Australian, b. 1977)
Steel, paint, marble, lapis lazuli


David Neale 'Brooch' 2009-10


David Neale (Australian, b. 1977)
Steel, paint, marble, lapis lazuli



Highly respected Melbourne jeweller David Neale presents new pieces alongside Emma Price, who will be showing her first significant group of work at Gallery Funaki in this exhibition.

David Neale’s intriguing folded forms, borne of his sensitive treatment of metal sheeting using texture and paint, have earned him a significant reputation both in Australia and overseas. His recent work shows a shift away from botanical influences, towards more abstract and expressive forms. There is a bold sense of the painterly in these works, as Neale’s powdery, textured colours become a dominant focus.

Emma Price completed her Masters of Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT in 2005 before spending a year at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. Her finely balanced structures are constructed from painstakingly drawn down tubing in gold, brass, silver and copper. The shifting, architectonic forms of her neckpieces seem to dance against the body.

Text from the Gallery Funaki website [Online] Cited 26/08/2010 no longer available online


Emma Price. 'Necklace 2' 2010


Emma Price (Australian, b. 1975)
Necklace 2
silver, brass, gold


Emma Price. 'Necklace 6' 2010


Emma Price (Australian, b. 1975)
Necklace 6
silver, brass, copper, gold


Emma Price 'Necklace 8' 2010


Emma Price (Australian, b. 1975)
Necklace 8



Gallery Funaki

This gallery has now closed.

Gallery Funaki website


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7 Responses to “Review: David Neale and Emma Price at Gallery Funaki, Melbourne”

  1. 1 Simon
    September 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Hello Marcus,

    I’m often very much enlightened by and in agreement with your attentive perceptive viewpoints. In many cases I have been drawn to see exhibitions that otherwise I might not have been drawn to go and see. Much like Didi above I don’t sign up to many ‘feeds’, so I might now take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for the breadth of what you do here. BUT in this write-up/review I’m utterly confused by your judgement of David Neale’s work. Your view here seems to be assumptions based on very shallow insight.

    In the past David’s work has mainly used sheet of silver (or copper) both very soft materials indeed, but even still I’ve never heard anyone complain about their physical strength. These new works being steel however, would be even more stable than earlier silver or copper works.

    Certainly these works do ‘appear’ to be fragile but surely you are aware that initial appearances can not always be taken as truth. It seems to be David’s intention for the work to appear fragile, but in actual fact he takes great care to maintain structural integrity, however not in such a way that looses the appearance of fragility (undoubtedly a potentially precarious path to walk along)…in my opinion his balance and control in this matter is exemplary.

    Im also quite sure that if anything, this ground stone is likely to be more stable in its colour than the works that are only coloured with basic paint. Even if the colour does fade slightly, such is often the life of wearable things, and in the case of work like David Neale’s this is most likely to add to the character rather than compromising the intentions of the work. We rarely ever hear people complaining about the fact that their jeans or shoes fade and age with time, in fact we are often grateful for it, as in many cases this ageing through wearing makes them our own. Sure this does fly in the face of the common and conventional expectations of ‘jewellery’ but this has always been a fundamental aim of Gallery Funaki; to extend a wearers view of what jewellery can be.

    I know a number of people who have old works of David Neale’s (some almost a decade old) none of which have been structurally damaged. In some cases the colour has very slightly worn, but in the view of the owner/wearer this is a welcome quality rather than a negative. And considering the amount that I know these brooches are worn, I know of little concern to the degree that you have expressed. And also considering this new work using steel will be stronger than the older work, there is even less concern than ever.

    There are reasons why David Neale’s work is so respected.



    • 2 bunyanth
      September 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

      Hi Simon

      Thank you for your wonderful and enlightening words and for more information on David Neale’s work – they are much appreciated 🙂
      I agree that initial appearances can not be taken at face value and since you have much more experience with his work than I have I defer to your greater knowledge with regard to the colours. I also agree that it is good to defy conventional expectations of what jewellery can and might be – as good art should do it pushes the boundaries.
      I suppose my initial reaction when picking up the pieces was that they were very fragile and I stand corrected if they are not, but this was an immediate response that I still think is a valuable response.
      As I said in the review I thought the brooches were wonderful pieces of art and I still do – they were stunning.

      I did not wish to give offence and apologise if I have.


      • 3 Simon Cottrell
        September 10, 2010 at 2:30 am


        ‘Should’ I be offended by someone willing to enter open discourse?? Not at all, hence I thanked you for it.

        As Im sure you know this country punches well above its weight with forward thinking creative practitioners many of whom get far more attention in other countries (eg. contmp. music composers+musicains which regularly leave this country for great things, while locally they remain buried deep underground).

        Resonant critical discourse has been sliding into rarity in contemporary Australian visual culture over the last decade. How are Australaians to develop any faith and interest in our own cultural output if the platforms and forums that bring our attention to what exists are so very tiny/narrow.

        Anyway you are one of few blogs that Im aware of that provides insightful substance across a wide breadth of the visual arts.

        (sorry Ive no idea how to make an expressive ‘smiley face’ like you did… but I am smiling)

        regs Simon

      • 4 bunyanth
        September 10, 2010 at 3:03 am

        Hi Simon
        Thank you for your insightful reply – I agree, critical discourse is a rarity in contemporary Australian culture. I enjoy thinking about things that is the foundation of it all!

        At the moment I am undertaking research into the concepts of (un)representation – how artists are finding different ways to represent themselves and their work through blogs and websites, making networks that transcend the usual channels of art fair, commercial gallery, exhibition. Interesting stuff that examines the notion of “image” making and issues of provenance, of elitist knowledge and criticism. Who can comment, what is their ‘point of view’, the perspective of that contextualization, notions of authorship and repsonsibility.

        There has been recent criticism of every man and his dog having an opinion:

        “My concern in an increasingly web based world we may be in danger of eroding some of our communal memories, some of our communal records, some of the research and information deposit if you like that enables us to conduct critical discourse about the arts with the public.
        My biggest concern I suppose, is that there has been a proliferation of people writing through blogs and other kinds of web 2.0 forms, social networking and so on, in which there is very little provenance, no credentials for what’s being said or written and what does the public do and how do we, as practitioners in the arts and cultural communities respond to that challenge.”

        by Justin McDonald in his talk “From Custodian to Curator” where he posits the case that the “general public” (no problems for the cognescenti!) do not know who to trust, on whose authority the voice is speaking and what is the provenance. I find this view elitist nonsense.

        My research is in it’s early stages but I hope I can make a valid contribution to this discourse by offering insight into different perspectives on being an artist who represents himself, has his own website and blog and can comment, hopefully constructively, on different ways of representation that illuminate networks of connectivity that push beyond the boundaries of ownership, authorship, expertism and elitism.


  2. August 28, 2010 at 10:45 am

    What amazingly unique jewelry… great forms. David Neale’s seems like wall-hung colour field paintings here (yet I can imagine his miniature geometric forms seem quite precious at their true dimensions, yet expansive and earthy). And Emma Price’s work definitely has a look of sketching or drawing of architectural sculptures. Both beautiful & bold in their own ways — and simply complex.

    & just to let you know, I’m a short-time lurker, but this New Yawker turned New South Welshwoman (heh, that’s a mouthful) really appreciates your bringing so much wonderful art to light on this blog (both Aussie exhibitions & the international ones that hit your radar) with your critical insights & accompanying photos. Thanks for that.

    I don’t sign-up for many RSS-feeds, but I do enjoy your Art Blart daily that way. Your own work, Marcus, is quite fascinating too.

    Didi S. Gilson

    PS the earlier comment has some long Saturday into night typoes — sorry. I needed the proofread & edit button. If you’re posting one — this would be the one to select.

    • 6 bunyanth
      August 29, 2010 at 9:23 am

      Hi Didi
      Thank you for your wonderful comments!
      So glad you like the blog – it takes a lot of hard work to bring it all together. Someone asked me the other day at the Art Fair how I made money out of it … I said I didn’t I just do it because of my passion for art LOL. I’m glad u like my eclectic taste. I’m always interested in the different and the diverse and commenting about what I see as the concepts and ideas behind the work with a critical yet appreciative eye.
      Many thankx again for your thoughts 🙂

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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