2 June 2010
Professor Robert Baines is postgraduate coordinator of RMIT Gold and Silversmithing and Deputy Head of the School of Art. His multi-disciplinary research is comprised of three areas: first as an artist goldsmith; second in archaeometallurgy; and third in publishing text and commentary.
In 1979 he received a Winston Churchill Study Grant and this has been followed by a Senior Fulbright Study (1996) and two Senior Andrew Mellon Conservation Fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (1999, 2002). In 2007 Robert Baines received a senior research scholarship in The Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
His work as an exhibiting artist goldsmith is collected in prestigious public collections in Great Britain, Germany, France, New Zealand, and Australia such as Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Ville de Cagnes-sur-Mer, France; Deutsches Blockflötenmuseum, Fulda, Germany; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; and the National Gallery of Australia. In 2004 he had an exhibition of his research, Entdecker der antiken Goldschmiedetechnik, at the prestigious Staatliche Antikensammlungen, München, Germany.
Exhibiting internationally he is the winner of major international and national prizes such as Bayerischer Staatpreis 2005 gold medal at the 57 Internationale Handwerksmesse, München and in Australia the Cicely and Colin Rigg Craft Award, (1997) at the National Gallery of Victoria; The Seppelt Contemporary Art Award (1998) Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Baines also holds a Master of Arts in classics and archaeology from Monash University. He has made a significant contribution to Australian jewellery, object-making, and international historical scholarship and publishing for over twenty-five years. Most recent books published are Partyline (2004), Bracelet 'Java-la-Grande' (2006) and More Amazing Schmuck Stories (2009.
Robert Baines' principal areas of leadership have been in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT and the other being within the community of the art industry as initiator and convenor of fora: Jewellery Philosophies-Contexts of Working (1990)- seminars and publications with JMGA(Vic), and editor of LEMEL, national journal of the JMGA (1995-1998). He managed the Melbourne International Mokume Gane Symposium and Exhibition (2002-3) and was chairman of the 11th Biennial JMGA International Conference Inherited Futures: Technology to Trap Ideas (2004).
His PhD was entitled, The Reconstruction of Historical Jewellery and its Relevance as Contemporary Artefact. His research was to analyse historical jewellery and to construct copies based on the known technology of the era. Resultant laboratory constructions with their historical correctness were then be available for reworking to convey a contemporary visual relevance and a statement of history. - Robert Baines builds fictitious jewellery.