Glass Invitational New Zealand surveys the major achievements, innovations and developments of New Zealand glass art in the preceding three years.
Of especial significance in this time have been the international achievements of Luke Jacomb; the Creative Glass Center of America residencies of Leanne Williams and Jim Dennison (2007) and Ruth Allen (2005); Ruth Allen’s exhibition in New York (2007); Evelyn Dunstan’s Ranamok Award (2007) and Lyndsay Patterson receiving the Thomas Prize (2006). There has also been a broadening use of glass as an intrinsic medium by artists (such as Elizabeth Thomson and John Edgar) who are coming to its use informed by dialogues and concerns which have no relationship at all to the prevailing cast and studio glass movements. Another development has been a noticeably emergent trend in cast glass of figuratively based work, in which the representational concerns are referencing matters of the human condition and place-specific politics.
Luke Jacomb is the first New Zealand glass artist to receive a major public art gallery exhibition in the USA (New Orleans Museum of Art). He works in both cast and hot glass and possesses a wider array of skills than ever before seen in NZ. He has developed a coherent body of work directly informed by the NZ he grew up in.
The predominant concerns of Leanne Williams and Jim Dennison are likewise drawn out of the particularities of place and meanings forged through use of iconographic emblems whilst also directly debating questions of art, design and craft.
Lyndsay Patterson’s orb form may appear more conventional, less surprising, because of its familiar shape, but through a process of removal and alteration these works move beyond pattern to the surface and textural dialogues of abstraction.
Ruth Allen sculpts with glass and uses shadow as a core component of her wall installations. The inter-dimensional language, built-character and abstract form of her work explicitly challenge the perceptions and conventions of glass.
Elizabeth Thomson is undoubtedly one of NZ’s leading artists and glass is but one of her mediums. Her use of it is varied and directly informed by science and the detail of microbiology. The cross-disciplinary and multi-media reach of her remarkable work is strongly suggestive of how glass in the right hands can directly address fine art dialogues in a way no other media can.
This, the third Glass Invitational NZ, shows that substantial change is taking place in the nature of NZ glass. It is no longer accurate to speak of the glass artist community being dominated by two modes – cast (in particular) and hot glass – or that the vessel is the prevailing form, when significant achievement is emerging elsewhere.
Stephen Higginson, Curator
Milford House Ltd
Toured by Milford House Ltd, Glass Invitational New Zealand opened at the Robert McDougall Gallery, Canterbury Museum and is showing at Milford Galleries Dunedin from 28 February until 15 April 2009.
Please note that only a selection of works featured within the Glass Invitational New Zealand exhibition are displayed on this webpage. For further details or for a full pdf of all works featured in the Glass Invitational New Zealand please contact Milford Galleries Dunedin.