Infinitesima: the art of curiosity.

pearlsdetail.jpgbowl.jpgoil2.jpgTrish Roan 

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite.  William Blake from ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ 

When I first met Patricia (Trish) Roan she was a first year student at the ANU School of Art glass workshop – shy, diminutive, sweet of nature, but with an unmistakable streak of unyielding determination. Stephen Procter would have loved her. For the term of her undergraduate years (4) her desk was nothing short of Darwinian – a literal laboratory of mysterious organic experimentation, not quite ‘eye of newt and toe of frog’ (never so dark), but certainly all manner of detritus in divers states of metamorphosis. And glass, of course, but nothing…conventional. She steadfastly resisted all attempts to steer her towards the ‘safety’ of the shallow end of the pool – commercial exhibition product – thank goodness, and as a consequence her art practice is uncompromisingly singular. And wonderous (in the true, non-hyperbolic sense of the word.) Roan graduated with first class honours at the end of last year – and remains shy, diminutive and  sweet of nature, with that unyielding determination still firmly in place. 

  Her work is best described as intriguingly metaphysical, with scientific overtones softened by a pervasive sense of considered intimacy. There’s something faintly Victorian-Gothic about it, even – the very nature of the observation perhaps, the patience. And that eye for the beauty of oddity. She’s not particularly concerned with the ‘Big Picture’ as such, preferring instead to investigate the seemingly modest though no less fascinating ‘infinity of the interior’. It’s in the small things that the big picture is encapsulated, of course, and it is precisely this that makes the work so successful. 

 In The Eye Of A Fish, The Volume Of A Room, for instance, the small sphere of oil – which floats inside the sphere of water/alcohol, inside the sphere of glass – reflects the entire room. Attaining the balance is painstakingly difficult, a process of meticulous tweaking and tuning to achieve an equilibrium so fragile that it barely lasts a day before disintegrating. Ring on the other hand required a protracted wait for the natural evaporation of liquid from the bowl, the residue of pigment itself being an integral element of the piece. Pearl was ‘seeded’ by a found object, the nature of which was lost through consequent coverings (in this case wax rather than nacre.) 

It is the ephemeral, the impossibility of keeping things perfect, and the contemplation of the reflected universal that specifically interests Roan. The process of making is meditative, she finds, regardless (or rather because) of the degrees of difficulty. Moreover it leaves her plenty of space and time to savour the ambiguities, and dream all those possible dreams.

Join a blog tour of her graduation show via the link below


Trish was recently a selected finalist in Young Glass 2007 held at the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, in Denmark. (See Neues Glass/New Glass magazine, Summer 2007, 2/07)

Her work will also be featured in two upcoming exhibitions in Canberra:

The ANCA Members Show, ANCA Gallery, Dickson, opening 14th July, and a group show at Alliance Francaise, in O’Conner, with Ian Robertson and Cristina Baratinskas Goodman (as recipients of the ANU School of Art’s EEAS program), opening 16th August.  

And she will be conducting workshops at the Canberra Glassworks: a four week casting class commencing July 11th (Wednesday evenings, 6-9pm), and two children’s classes during the school holidays, July 10-12th and July 17-19th (mornings from 9-12)

By George

The Kelly Gang went to the opening of the George Lambert exhibition at the NGA last night, and didn’t have a camera – not that you’re allowed to take one in – which is a tad sad ‘cos we can’t do a show-and-tell of all our favourite bits; the interplay of the attendees, the behind-the-scene hot action in the gents, the view from the smokers’ circle, etcetera

Anyhoo it was the usual art crowd, peppered thankfully with that handful of people that you’re always happy to catch up with over a tot of  sponsored bar-swill. There was an over-abundance of speeches, of course, including the obligatory spiel from some totally forgettable politician (can’t remember his name, what he said, or even what he looked like… perhaps he was the Minister for the Arts – not a high priority in the Liberal scheme of things.) La Gropp and the Gang had made a prior arrangement to meet for a moment of shared cultural enlightenment, but the throng was so thuck that we somehow managed to circle around and around and miss one another entirely.

The show is fabulous, although if the self-portraits are anything to go by George himself comes across as bit of a pompous fop. It came as no surprise, then, to learn that he had a slightly theatrical manner (although one rather suspects that this might be one hell of an understatement.) Nonetheless he sure could paint. The war paintings and landscapes, most particularly, are utterly marvellous and we simply adore A Sergeant of the Light Horse. Oh, those sun-kissed lashes!!  

It’s an exhibition well worth a squizz, and with any luck it’ll lure people back across the lake to the War Memorial, which is not only currently mounting a Lambert show (and symposium) of its own, but must surely have the best Australian art collection in the nation, never mind the subject matter.



Stand up for your rights. And get some attitude!! 

(above) Waste Basket #8, Brenden Scott French.

As previously stated, ad nauseum(!), the driving impetus for this blog is a desire to perpetuate a climate of dialogue/genuine exchange of view across the broader glass community. This is by no means intended as an in-house clique-fest (quite the contrary.) We welcome instead the participation of all and any interested parties, be they practitioners, collectors, dealers, patrons, arts industry apologists or merely curious by-standing others. No need to be shy, the very nature of the internet will afford you some degree of anonymity – unless of course you’re keen to publicly identify yourselves  (which, frankly, wouldn’t disappoint us!) 

But where to begin?  

What is your view of the glass, and craft, ‘sector’ today? Does it not even vaguely concern you that we now operate in what is actually officially referred to as ‘a sector’? Does the Arts/Craft debate have any relevance at all to glass anymore, given ‘the sector’s’ unabashed interior decor/market focus? Whence came that insidious imperative for glass artists to become ‘corporatized’? How on earth did it become de rigeur for glass artists to comport themselves in a manner that can only be described as ‘motivational-management-seminar-esque’ (with a superficial sound-bite patter to match)? And more importantly, has calculated ambition dealt passion and creative integrity a fatal death blow? (Nothing like a little tautology to spice up a bone of contention…)

Perhaps it’s time to climb down off that fence and get involved in a spot of collective discourse.  

To get things rolling we’re putting in a link to an opinion-piece-slash-review published last year on the Craft Australia website. There’s no need to address the article per se, but we’re rather hoping it might prompt an opinion piece of your own…..

And we’ve just been given the nudge (see comments) to add a link to a blog called Whale Sushi, who posted an extraordinarily insightful piece immediately following the late-May opening of the Canberra Glassworks….! 

If you would like to post a point of view over and above a mere comment, please send it in an email attachment via

The optimum mark of success


Stolen!!!  Matthew Curtis’s constructed cobalt and cherry bowl (weighing in at 70kg.) Photograph Rob Little.

When do you know that you’ve really made it as an artist? Why, when your work has been targeted for a major robbery, of course.  Not the common, naff shop-lifting scenario but the real deal; the smash and grab. Ex-Sydney-now-Canberra (well, Queanbeyan to be exact) glass artist Matthew Curtis was recently paid the greatest homage of his career to date when thieves ram-raided his solo exhibition at Axia Modern Art gallery in Melbourne. We kid you not. Fair dinkum! The robbers drove a truck (presumably) through the front of the gallery and grabbed three pieces before making off into the night.

Now anybody familiar with Matthew’s oeuvre will know that his recent work (featured in an article in Craft Arts International No. 69, 2007) is rather large and very heavy indeed (which pretty much explains why the crims stopped at three.) The items nabbed, in fact, were all contructed (plate) bowls that weighed in at 60kg, 70kg and 90 kg respectively, the man-handling of which would have been no mean feat. How excitement! The coppers apparently have no leads, but one imagines that the goods will be difficult to fence. Could this mean that a bold, new class of collector/connoisseur has arrived on the scene? And considerate, too, by all accounts – the raid was pulled the day before the exhibition was due to close, giving people plenty of opportunity to see the show before the snatch.

All terribly thrilling we thought, and Matthew, of course, has set a new benchmark of sorts. Undoubtably some members of the fraternity will now be spending many a sleepless night fretting over this most worrisome of professional conundrums: how successful and desireable is one’s work if nobody wants to nick it? Keep an eye out for nefarious trends……

Kamberra Retrospective


‘Duck’ from the Pond Life series, Tom Moore

The Kamberra Glass Gallery at the Kamberra Wine Company ran for some two and a half years and was a pleasure to curate. It was a space that was run without the strictures of an ‘establishment’ agenda and was consequently authentically (philosophically) engaging. We have put together a brief glance back across the program – a taste, only, of the long list of artists who exhibited there…


Following the frazzle-dazzle of the Glassworks opening, the Kelly Gang immediately decamped to Melbourne for a lovely week of R&R with no glass agenda whatsoever – yep, nada. Not one unctuous pressing-of-flesh moment to be witnessed (not that we make a habit of it at the best of times.) Missed catching up with the lovely Jules (please note that the only name-dropping this column will tolerate will be the dropping of surnames) but did manage lunch with Blanchie (who dryly observed that the last G(L)OSSIP post was clearly the work of a one-woman-Tom-Moore-fan-club!)  Well, we must confess that there certainly were an inordinate number of snaps of Tom, but this truly wasn’t intentional. The sad fact of the matter is that the photographer was so busy having such an enjoyable time that many of the photographs taken were way out of focus and therefore  unpublishable. Mea Culpa. And yes, before anyone mentions it, there were lots of shots of the Adelaide mob but, frankly, they are the guys (as always) who were the most fun to hang out with.

Arrived back in Canberra just in time to wave off Lene, who’s now left for Norway. We’ll miss her dreadfully, but at least we know that it’s only an au revoir. We’ve stuck in a photo (above) of one of her recent pieces, Matroyoshka Doll (2 in 1) and draw your attention to an article posted recently on Craft Victoria’s Craft Culture website….here


For more Lene Lunde images check the Beyond Kamberra (Kamberra Retrospective) file once it’s posted…