“Robyn Irwin’s flared glass vessels stand apart from the usual. Her simple organic shapes are manipulated and deconstructed to create curious elliptical forms. Irwin debates the issues of form and establishes tensions, to amplify and augment a visual narrative concerning the precarious strata and volcanic nature of the New Zealand landscape.” (1)
Irwin reveals virtuosity in her painterly approach to the medium. Delicate layers of white glass are applied in brushstrokes seeming to drift like snow flurries across the surface. She builds a strata of opaque black and white layers over clear glass enabling her to imbue the vessels with light.
The concern of this body of work is also to debate the functional vessel. Irwin’s elliptical forms allow for a multiplicity of vantage points: the three exterior sides and an interior of the bowl each providing a unique vista, which traverses the memory of the vessel.
Irwin’s Snow Melt vessels are a response to “the North Island’s Central Plateau and the high mountains and lakes of the South Island.” (2) They mirror natural phenomenon such as the way in which hard volcanic ridges are exposed in high contrast to melting snow or the ice flows gliding down glacial rivers, echoing in hidden snow caves.
1. Stephen Higginson, Glass Invitational NZ, 2005.
2. Robyn Irwin, Artist statement, 2006.