Glass 08 celebrates the sheer visual energy of glass and demonstrates the international significance and excellence of New Zealand glass artists who are truly at the forefront of innovation, development and achievement.
Elizabeth McClure has made a significant contribution towards raising the profile of glass and is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished glass artists. Inaugural Thomas Foundation Glass Award recipient (2001), Elizabeth’s work has achieved international recognition and is held in important collections such as The Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongawera), Auckland Museum and the American Museum of Glass. Recent projects include the applauded Conversations exhibition at The New Dowse in Wellington.
Elizabeth’s exploration of pattern and texture continues in this latest series of work. Simple blown glass forms are intuitively transformed/regenerated; beguiling texture, pattern and colour is applied/unearthed. Through the repetition of mark marking, Elizabeth instinctively treats each form individually bringing forth the unique character, strength and presence of each piece. ‘The working of surfaces is at times precise, defined, sometimes spontaneous, random’ and sometimes, as in this latest series of work, influenced by musical rhythm. (1)
In Staccato 1 (2008) there is a resonating intensity of warmth, serenity and steadfast strength inside the deep apricot-coloured well of the bowl which contrasts with the implied nature of the spontaneous and haphazard staccato-dotted pattern.
Blending Polynesian influence, a passion for glass and a fascination with traditional domestic crafts including crochet and weaving, Emily Siddell’s work is enchantingly beautiful, joyous, celebratory and extraordinarily well resolved. Her finely crocheted series of wire kete, Hidden, are elaborately embellished with graduating layers of transparent icicle-like glass fragments, which define the edges and dance teasingly across the delicate surface. Engaging with the liquid qualities of glass, Emily focuses on “producing works that capture the seemingly spontaneous moment of movement in the glass working process. I am interested in the light refracting aspect of this luscious material”. (2)
Vicki Fanning explores the role that glass and art play in our daily lives and seeks to challenge the material notion of glass as solid and unyielding. Recreating everyday objects by meshing/knitting together droplets of glass, Vicki’s works are convincingly tangible and flexible. Beanie, Scarf & Mittens (2008) for example appears wearable but is a play on the preciousness and fragility of glass. ‘Only when we view art as part of the everyday will it have attained its true status: there’s divinity in the domestic.’ (3)
Luke Jacomb is a young emergent artist who is quickly gaining an international reputation for his innovative use of photosensitive glass and bold use of highly expressive colour. He combines elements of traditional Maori and Polynesian motifs with sleek European design and intricate Venetian glasswork techniques, in what critics praise as a distinctive, coherently synthesised aesthetic. Jacomb’s touring exhibition begins at the New Orleans Museum of Art this September before going to the Milwaukee Museum in early 2009 and then touring major centres in New Zealand from late 2009.
Stephen Bradbourne has received numerous awards, substantial critical attention and acclaim, and is widely acknowledged as one of the leading glass blowers in New Zealand. He has recently been the recipient of the Cavalier Bremworth Luminous: NZ Art of Glass Award (2007) and the Norsewear Art Award (2007). Bradbourne’s work primarily features the murrine technique in which tablets of glass are prepared with the patterning in lengths, then sliced and intricately recomposed to create a compelling visual rhythm.
Trudie Kroef contrasts the solidity of cast glass with the yielding and delicate qualities of porcelain. The subtle interplay between the translucency and transparency, positive and negative spaces, colour and texture lie at the core of her work which is simple, evocative and tender.
Christine Cathie captures the very essence of rhythm and motion in her elegant glass sculptures. The translucency and rich colour of the glass engages the senses; light inside the mass of colour crescendos and filters through caressing the undulating curves.
Robyn Irwin’s flared glass vessels stand apart from the usual not only for their extraordinary form but also the way in which the artist has approached the medium in a painterly fashion. Fine layers of opaque black and white layers over clear glass imbue the vessel with an aura of light. Delicate feathered wisps of white drift like mist across the surface in Morning Mist (2008).
Other significant New Zealand artists featured in this inaugural glass exhibition at milford galleries queenstown include Dominic Burrell, Shona Firman, Sue Hawker, Merryn Jones, Phil Newbury, Lou Pendergrast-Mathieson, Megan Tidmarsh, Carmen Simmonds and Jenny Smith.
1. Elizabeth McClure, Artist statement, 2002.
2. Emily Siddell, Artist statement, 2002.
3. Vicki Fanning, Artist statement, Life and Leisure Magazine, June 2008.