Working with the temperamental medium of cast glass, Galia Amsel was already a well-established glass artist in her native UK before her relocation to New Zealand in 2003. Her earlier works explored regular geometric forms which were often interrupted and re-figured; approaching “an industrial aesthetic,” they possessed a sense of restraint and controlled tension. (1) Over the past ten years, Amsel has been elongating and stretching these formal shapes into organic curves and waves.
Amsel has brought a strong sense of movement into her practice and fully exploits the fluidity and transparency of the medium. Each work is a paradox of stillness and flux, simultaneously containing space and altering the space around it. The curves of Amsel’s works rise to finely honed edges that slice upwards through the air. Perfectly balanced on their bases, they draw the eyes across and up in the direction of each glassy sweep. Within the glass, streams of colour are frozen mid-flow, but break up the light as it enters and leaves the form. Applying cold-working techniques such as polishing and sandblasting to the surfaces further alters where and how light interacts with each sculpture. Subtle, etched patterns provide a tactile experience as well as a visual one.
Born in 1967 in London, Amsel currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand. In 1989 she gained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 3-D Design (ceramics and glass) with Middlesex Polytechnic, London and in 1991, a Masters in Glass with Royal College of Art, London. She is represented in numerous internationally significant collections, including Corning Museum (United States of America), Crafts Council Collection (London), Glasmuseet Ebeltoft (Denmark), The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Victoria and Albert Museum (United Kingdom), Ulster Museum (Ireland), Montreal Museum (Canada) and Glassammlung Ersting (Germany).
1. Lucy Hammonds, Departure Points, Craft Arts International, Issue 83, November 2011, p18.