August 26 – October 19, 2020
MJ Tyson is an artist based in Hoboken, New Jersey. Tyson’s artwork is centered on the relationship between people and their possessions. Making use of collections, unconventional casting, and record-keeping, Tyson’s interests in value and material culture have led her to draw from the worlds of jewelry, art appraisal, and museum conservation. Tyson examines the significance of jewelry not only in its relationship to the physical body but also in its role in our lives.
In her current body of work Tyson is deliberately pushing material towards its next incarnation, and tracing the history of objects, she simultaneously reaches forward and backward. She melts, molds, and edits collections of metal objects and jewelry from the lives of the living and the deceased. The resulting sculptures become intimate portraits of human presence, irrevocably altered, and poignantly recognizable.
“Tyson’s work resonates on many levels—it’s about reuse, the past, and the present; the meaning of objects and their role in our lives; and nostalgia. It’s brilliant, emotional, and very unique.” – Barbara Paris Gifford, Associate Curator, Museum of Arts and Design
MJ Tyson received a BFA and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and currently is a visiting lecturer at Pratt Institute. She has been an artist in residence at the Studios at Mass MoCA, Vermont Studio Center, and The Wormfarm Institute. The 2020 recipient of Art Jewelry Forum’s Emerging Artist Award, Tyson’s work was recently included in Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry at Museum of Arts and Design as well as 40 Under 40: The Next Generation of American Metal Artists at the Metal Museum. Her work can be currently be seen in MAD’s permanent collection exhibit, 45 Stories in Jewelry. This is her first solo exhibition at the gallery.
“All material carries a past, and whether we acknowledge this lineage or not, it exists. It may be to our advantage — as a way of orienting ourselves in our world — to consider the cycles of creation and destruction intrinsic to the objects and materials that surround us. Considering such cycles, I have found that the significance of jewelry lies not only in its relationship to the body, but also in its role in our lives as a physical marker of abstract ideas, such as lineage, legacy, and favor.” – MJ Tyson