Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

Shop on the Square – Artist Spotlight: Jill Baker Gower

In advance of PAA’s newest annual winter fundraiser,Shop on the Square, we’ll be highlighting our participating guest artists here on the Philadelphia Art Alliance blog.  

Shop on the Square is revitalization of Battle of the Bowls, our annual winter fundraiser.  Shop on the Square presents an opportunity to showcase these artists’ work beyond a vessel and in the medium of their choice.  This week-long show, craft sale, and auction features thoughtfully designed and expertly crafted jewelry, accessories, tableware, toys, and much more at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.

The show will run Tuesday, December 4th through Sunday, December 9th, from noon to 7pm daily.

For more information, check out:

Our first featured artist is Jill Baker Gower

Jill Baker Gower forges wearable objects, sculpture, and jewelry out of precious and non-precious materials. These works are influenced by elaborate jewelry and metalwork of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Victorian periods, specifically silver toiletry beautification objects, lockets, containers, and make-up items. Historical influences are then combined with contemporary ideas on glamour and beauty drawn from the media, advertisements, and various packaging and marketing strategies for make-ups, remedies, and other lotions and potions. The surfaces of these objects are often ornate and decorative, inspired by patterns found in wall papers, decorative ironwork, lace, and crochet.


The work humorously and subtly addresses current beautification and body alteration obsessions as well as methods of material glamorization popular in society today. The use of mirrors references vanity and humankind’s obsession with appearance. The pairing of these mirrors with decorative patterns and flesh like rubber physically pulls the viewer into the piece, and the rubber acts as a patterned skin that mimics bodily transformation. Large gems, feathers, lace, and fur are materials that have been deemed glamorous and sexy for centuries. In order to signify that these pieces are valuable and precious, Gower often works with materials such as silver, gold, jewels, pearls, and lustrous fabrics; which, throughout time have indicated social status and rank, and also reference traditional as well as historical jewelry and metalwork.


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