There’s mathematical thinking in Riia’s Modular ring cycle
‘I wanted to create an image of deconstruction,’ says Ukraine-born, LA-based Valerie Chaika – founder of Riia – of its ‘Modular’ ring series. Viewed individually, pieces in the six-piece recycled sterling silver collection include a ring with a chunky orb detail, and a band with a splice of metal missing. But when viewed as a whole, they are seen to stem from a single shape, with graphic elements emphasised, reduced or repeated.
The series was born after Chaika sketched ‘Modular Ring No 6’, an orb encased within the walls of a silver band, based on the idea of ’putting a sphere on a ring in a non-conventional way.’ She reduced the walls around the ring for the fifth design, placing it atop its band, before beginning a process of ‘bending’ and splicing until she reached ‘Modular Ring No 1’ – ‘the last ring left in the raw’ – which reveals a thin sliver of skin.
‘The results reflected an intuitive design process’ says the self-taught painter. She launched Riia in 2017 in a bid to design pieces with an element of interaction, and work on a smaller scale. ‘I am fascinated by geometric objects and their contact with natural forms like the body and space.’
Chaika cites Malevich and Rodchenko’s monochromatic and shape-focused aesthetic as an enduring influence, plus the angular creations of Donald Judd, and Richard Serra’s undulating forms. ‘Post-Minimalism really broadened visual language,’ she adds. The digits which convey the deconstructed narrative of Riia’s Modular Ring series, also really add up.§