Earl Pardon's "Portable Art" at the High

By Brooke Hutchins 

Photo by Michael McKelvey 

Photo by Michael McKelvey 

This story originally appeared on page 162 of the Spring 2015 issue

Have you ever considered jewelry to be “portable art”? Earl Pardon, a Tennessee-born modern American artist and designer, is known for just that: pushing the boundaries of jewelry with original artistry fit for a museum. And Atlanta’s High Museum of Art is currently home to 88 rare pieces of Pardon’s signature jewelry in the exhibition, Earl Pardon’s “Portable Art”: Jewelry and Design. With works dating from the 1950s to the early 1990s, the exhibit focuses on America’s studio jewelry movement after World War II — a time when jewelry was held high as “wearable design.” Sarah Schleuning, the exhibition’s curator, stresses that Pardon’s highly experimental techniques and abstract style “reflected a more stripped-down, cleaner aesthetic that seemed fresh and new during the postwar era.” Although Pardon used many natural materials such as abalone shell, precious metals, gemstones, ivory and ebony in his designs, he is best known for painting with enamels. Out of this unique enameling process arose a complex array of colors and textures that still set his work apart today.


Through June 7

High Museum of Art

1280 Peachtree St. NE

Atlanta, GA 30309