“It is my desire to create work that aside from the innate beauty of glass also reflects a sense of my emotion and spirit… my journey.”
"My work is totally intuitive. It comes from the gap between the thoughts." (1)
Auckland-based artist, Te Rongo Kirkwood (Waikato, Taranaki, Te Wai-o-Hua, Te Kawerau, Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki) works with fused glass, textile, and other media to create objects that blur the lines between sculpture, craft, and personal adornment. Kirkwood combines glass with more traditional fibres and each glass element features its own language of symbol and pattern.
Her cloaks act as transformative objects as they re-create ideas of Māori art and symbolism within a Western fine art discourse. Kirkwood draws upon her Māori and Scots heritage, and the natural world for creative inspiration; her use of natural materials and kiln-formed glass fuses multiple artistic traditions and techniques. As objects, the cloaks exhibit a complex structure of form and material, replete with textural and visual contrasts. As cloaks, the viewer can easily imagine the physical weight and heft of the item as it drapes over a body; this creates an intimate relationship between viewer and work.
Kirkwood has been working in glass for over 8 years and has been regularly exhibiting within New Zealand and abroad since 2009. She is a three-time finalist in the prestigious Ranamok Glass Awards, and her work sits in the private collection of the Awards’ founder. Kirkwood is a three-time finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday 3D awards, more recently receiving Best in Glass at the Rodney Art Awards. In 2009/10 Kirkwood contributed to the Project Twin Streams initiative in Waitakere by producing a major artwork near the pathway at Millbrook Esplanade.
1. Te Rongo Kirkwood, Artist Statement.