Ed and Patricia Faber have touched my life, and my family’s, in ways in which I’m not sure they fully understand.
My father, Earl Pardon, has been showing his work with the Aaron Faber Gallery since their inception (and still has work there, since his passing in 1991). Forty years ago, Earl was already considered to be an early pioneer in the post-WII studio art jewelry movement. He had been teaching at Skidmore College since 1951, and had been in major exhibitions and commissions over the years.
And yet, he had never been represented by a gallery. When he retired as chair of the Skidmore art department, Earl was considering approaching galleries. My mother happened to see an article on a new gallery in Manhattan; Eunice pushed my father to get in touch with “Aaron Faber.” While most collectors and museums were interested in Earl’s mid-century work, Ed and Patricia Faber recognized the potential of his newer work. By re-introducing his work to the public, they gave Earl a center stage for the most productive years of his life. They did a great job, and he became prolific in his output.
And so, at some point, he needed an assistant, and hired me to work with him. I got to know my father as a person, and became really appreciative of his role, not only in art history, but also as a WWII vet — and, amazingly, began to see him as just a guy. We worked together for four years, until his death. I thank the Fabers for their part in giving us that opportunity.
As for me, I had primarily considered myself a painter, and had only dabbled in jewelry. Soon after immersing myself in this medium with my father, I became enamored by the possibilities of jewelry as a form of wearable art.
I was starting to amass a body of work and to show in a few galleries. The Fabers were encouraging, but reluctant to take me on in their gallery. This was very shrewd on their part. They were waiting to see an unswerving commitment, passion and individuality in my work. This taught me a lot about the business of owning a gallery in Manhattan. (It’s also one of the reasons they are still in business after 40 years.)
In 1990 I had my first show at the gallery, a 2-person show with my father, the year before he passed away. Looking back it seems like an almost impossible event: working on Earl’s work during the day, and my own on nights and weekends. From then on, both generations of the Pardon family have been linked with the Aaron Faber Gallery.
In 1997 the gallery hosted an exhibit that included my parents, my wife Jackie, and me. My mother, printmaker and fiber artist Eunice Pardon, passed away before the opening — but by gosh, she had had a show to get ready for in those last weeks of her life. She was focused, and happy.
Eunice was also happy, ecstatic, to be a grandmother for those weeks before she died — in part as a result of conversations my wife and I had had with the Fabers regarding the wonders of adoption. “Celebrate the mundane,” they said. “Have kids, have kids, have kids.”
We adopted our son, Dexter Guy Pardon, just in time for him to be held and loved by his grandmother.
Onward to Big Moose Lake. One year we invited the Fabers to vacation with us, and my in-laws, in the Adirondacks. With two of their three children, Ed and Patricia joined us in a week of wonderful, and at times wacky, relaxation. Loons laughed; we took a tour on a 1950’s Chris Craft while the driver recounted the story of the lake’s 1906 murder (and the supposed appearances by the victim’s ghost). We were visited by a bear one evening; we caught sight of deer every day; and our three-year-old Dex got to spend time with the “big kids.” Patricia fished off the dock with my father-in-law. We played cards. We counted chipmunks. Glorious.
I’ve continued to show with the gallery, in many exhibitions throughout the years. (Their yearly representation of my work at SOFA grew into a father-and-son exhibition at the 2012 SOFA Chicago.) Ed and Patricia were always tireless, and gracious. They have been forward-thinking in their handling of my work, and I have received attention and opportunity as a result of their direct efforts. Their staff has always been great with me.
I can’t express enough the gratitude I have for Edward and Patricia Faber. Not just personally, but also for their dedication in creating a venue for emerging generations of Art Jewelers for what may be an unprecedented length of time.
Happy Fortieth Anniversary to the Fabers and their staff.