It’s glass but not as we know it!
From 15-17 February, 2019, Whanganui will host the COLAB conference which is the inaugural joint conference of NZSAG (New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass) and Ausglass (The Australian Association of Glass Artists). Over the course of the three day programme the conference will focus on collaborative practice: through crossing disciplines, blending methodologies and approaches to making.
As a companion to the conference, and following the theme of collaboration, this exhibition features work by artists that challenge the perceptions of what we might normally think of as ‘glass’ art. Each of the artists featured demonstrate a collaborative approach in their making, either working with other makers or through their use of materials, where the medium of glass is cross pollinated or in conversation with another. An example of this conversation is a grouping of delicate works by Emily Siddell and Stephen Bradbourne who bring together crocheted copper wire and ceramic pieces alongside murrine and twisted cane glass works, creating a body of work that is an exploration of form, pattern and adornment.
Both Vicki Fanning and Galia Amsel have chartered their own unique paths in their innovative use of glass. Here they are represented by sculptural works where the glass component is only one part of the equation. Fanning’s User Generated Content 1,2 and 3 are a development of earlier sculptural ceramic forms and combine clay, silicon and borosilicate glass, melted down to resemble scales and tendrils which are then applied to the form. Amsel’s work features clear glass tubular tentacles that pour from what appears to be an industrial showerhead, and nod to the essential fibre optic cables made from glass that are so essential to our digital lives and keeping us connected.
Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams have been making cast glass work together as ‘The Crystal Chain Gang’ since 2004 and draw inspiration from found and imagined forms that are cast and fashioned into jewel-like sculptures where figurative, chiselled and natural forms collide. A quiet anarchy is also imbued in the work of Australian artist Tom Moore. His extraordinary blown and fused glass creations take the form of eccentric creatures that blend vegetable, animal, vehicular and mechanical components. His work is very much indicative of the collaborative nature
of glass making, particularly blowing which needs a team of people working together.
The works begin their lives as drawings which are transformed into glass and further developed when these characters become protagonists in staged scenarios and captured via photography and animation. Paul Hartigan has been using neon glass in his illuminated works since the early 1980s. Although traditionally used as signage, Hartigan utilises the now century old technology to create unique works from light and colour. When discussing Self-portrait as a Cumulus Cloud the artist comments ”This work talks about line, volume, freeform and gesture as well as colour, perception and illumination .. “. An altering of perception is certainly what’s required when viewing the remarkable work of Kathryn Wightman, at a glance her impressive Stained II resembles a swirling Axminster carpet. On closer inspection it’s apparent that this is no ordinary carpet, but instead is made entirely from glass using a technique the artist has developed, combining digital technologies with printmaking and glass making processes. We hope that this exhibition will encourage our visitors to see glass in a whole new light. We look forward to an influx of glass artists and enthusiasts from New Zealand, Australia and further afield over the course of the three day conference.
CURATOR & PUBLIC PROGRAMMES MANAGER