Ann Robinson's glasswork is acknowledged worldwide, as is her influence on other glass artists. She is undoubtedly one of New Zealand's finest artists in any medium, and within the medium of glass sculpture is without peer. Her artistic practice stretches across several decades, yet remains constantly innovative, often challenging, and consistently of the highest quality. A pioneer and master of the lost wax glass casting technique, her works have a serene grace and unique beauty.
The current exhibition forms a small survey of works completed by Robinson at the Bancroft Studio. At Bancroft, Robinson has been able to produce much larger works than previously possible, notably the two astonishing bowls, Unite Series #2 - Earth and Sky (Pale Aqua / Lagoon) and Rolled Lip Bowl (Citrine). The exhibition is a foretaste of a significant nationwide tour of Bancroft Studio Works planned for 2017.
Robinson draws major inspiration from the land around her, especially that of her beloved Waitakere Ranges. Her works have a distinct New Zealand sensibility, their structures reflecting the foliage of the bush and the forms of the land and sea. They are deceptive works. There is an apparent simplicity in pieces such as Landscape Bowl (Yellow / Amber) and Curved Vase #2 (Semillon), yet this belies their transcendent beauty, the natural flow of their line, and the incredible skill with which they have been created.
Colour is used sparingly, yet with dexterity. The richness of the individual browns and ambers clothes them in a mantle of colour. The technically and aesthetically superb Unite Series #2 - Earth and Sky (Pale Aqua / Lagoon), created from several cast pieces precisely matched and joined, is a world in itself, the blue sky forming a perfect complement to the green sea of the base. The piece has a mercurial quality; as light catches the surfaces, new shades and tones emerge. Robinson's Ice Bowl #89 (Hyacinth Blue), with its shifting hues, take this quality even further; this piece has an astonishing nature, changing its colour completely in different lighting conditions.
The finish on the pieces - acid etched to a matt translucence on the sides, and polished to a mirror smoothness on the rims - gives the works a haunting, nebulous quality. Light enters through the clear edges, and is diffused by the etched sides, producing a liquid-like flow of colour which shifts and changes as the light conditions change. The combination of polish and etching also gives the pieces a compelling tactile quality. The sheer thickness of the glass in many of the items - a technical accomplishment in its own right - also gives the sculptures a gravity and presence. These are works to be caressed as much as they are objects to be viewed.