Exhibition Description


Tiff Massey
June 7 – July 4, 2014

View images from the exhibit

In her first solo exhibit at Re:View Contemporary Gallery titled Vanity, Tiff Massey merges the regal aesthetics of traditional African hair-styling techniques and the grandiose bravado of 80’s hip-hop jewelry, examining how the jewelry and regalia of the Diaspora, as symbols of wealth, affect the wearer’s behavior and attitude.

Massey explores how the context and setting affect an individual’s perception of self, and how objects and their placement influence an individual’s ideas about their external appearance.

The works first seduce the viewer, creating a desire to take, touch, and activate.  Once “activated” the pieces immediately create a sense of confidence in the wearer, which in turn creates an increased desire to show off and be seen. The multi-faceted gem-like forms throughout the space amplify the seductive nature of the experience by providing a means of both literal and metaphorical reflection.

Massey’s primary interest lies in exploring what fundamental emotions take place when a person is “feeling himself/herself,” which often translates into vain thoughts and/or acts. The viewer is invited into arriving at their own understanding of how objects that are in relation with our bodies affect our ideas of self and identity in the world.

Tiff Massey is a jeweler and mixed-media artist. She originally studied biology, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University, but her inspiration for metalsmithing emerged as a stronger passion. Tiff is a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, receiving a Master of Fine Arts (Metalsmithing 2011). Her work focuses on the creation of contemporary art jewelry, and is often translated into sculpture and objects. These works can metamorphose into different pieces, by nature of their function, or the environment in which they are placed. Tiff’s works are an observation of class and race in contemporary times viewed through the lens of the African American diaspora and life in Detroit..

Shows of Massey’s work include a solo show at G R’ N’namdi Center for Contemporary Art 2012-13, and Detroit Artist Market Design Show 2013, Caroline Van Hoek Gallery, Brussels Belgium, 2012 and Sofa–Chicago 2011. Her recent awards include Best Times Based Performance in collaboration with Complex Movements, at SiteLab during Art Prize 2012 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.