Within and Without (A Work in Six Episodes) by Keith Lo Bue
Video, 39 minutes

“As the curtain rises on this imaginary play, American art jeweler Keith Lo Bue beckons viewers into his Sydney studio to watch as he gives antique cast-offs new life as jewelry.

The film documents the construction of the star of the show, a neckpiece entitled Within and Without, which actually took Lo Bue over 80 hours to create. Haunting accordion music by Guy Klucevsek and Irena Opacak’s intimate camerawork add to the otherworldly atmosphere in which Lo Bue, frequently wearing antique aviator goggles, forages through his treasures for his cast of characters. Over the film’s 39 minutes, Lo Bue cold connects, hammers and saws a melodeon key, Australian tallow-wood and a Victorian doorknob plate, among other found objects, into a startling necklace with a private, inner chamber that can only be viewed through a distorting lens.

The delightful unpredictability and theatricality of this video film invites makers to consider the drama, surprise, tension and plot developing at their own workbenches whenever they force unlikely metals to co-habitate with found objects. For Lo Bue, every tiny wearable sculpture is a developing narrative and every component adds another piece to the evolving puzzle. Completely unrehearsed and unscripted, Within and Without documents in close-up detail the maze of setbacks and solutions that lead to the finished neckpiece.

Within and Without has all the ingredients of a satisfying film: a rising climax, set-backs and resolution. When you consider the main protagonist is a doorknob plate, that’s quite an accomplishment. It is inspiring on that level alone, but jewelers who delight in using unexpected objects to create wearable art will find Lo Bue’s quirky insights and problem-solving liberating as well as enlightening.

Lo Bue has not cast his artistic eye to jewelry alone. Using his idiosyncratic style to rivet dividers, rulers and the corners of suitcases into astonishing eyewear, Lo Bue’s optics dare to be worn. His mesmerizing digital assemblages function as performance art that seem to stop time by inviting the viewer to inhale and unravel the puzzling imagery that is a gateway to the artist’s mind. Lo Bue’s illustration and photography background, a career spent working with Disney as well as acclaimed musicians has served both him and the art community well, allowing for a cross-pollination between jewelry, music, film, illustration and photography.

Within and Without captures the elusive creative turbulence that culminates in soulful art. Only a virtuoso like Lo Bue could force chandelier glass, accordion keys and a rubber typewriter roller to reach their full potential as artifacts in his museum of dreams.

This flim is inspiration that money CAN buy, for Lo Bue fills us with his vision of the unlimited possibilities for creating art jewelry from treasured collections. Best of all, he shows us the way.”

(Review from the FAIF Film Festival (Foundation for the Advancement of Independent Films), Los Angeles, where Within and Without had its world premiere)


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