Surveying the ‘nature of us’…

13 05 2019

For those of you who can’t make it to Wagga Wagga to catch the National Art Glass Gallery’s current offering, Michael Scaronne has sent the next best thing – a slide show of the exhibition, This Australian Life, with the accompanying curatorial essay by guest curator Suzanne Brett (former curator of Kirra Galleries, Fed Square.)

 

MURRAY,-R-2008.056_1000x400.jpgRobert Murray, Coolamons, 2008, kiln formed, painted, perspex, dimensions variable. Purchase funded by Wagga Wagga City Council, National Art Glass Collection 2008

W a g g a W a g g a A r t G a l l e r y P r e s e n t s

This Australian Life:

Works from the National Art Glass Collection – Curated by Suzanne Brett 

Driving to Wagga Wagga last December the road was strewn with
detritus from the recent floods that stranded cars on the Hume
Highway and washed away the bridge at Wangaratta. Trees were
scarred and blackened by fires weeks and years earlier and the
undulating landscape continually changed with darkened skies and
ominous clouds on the horizon. It left an impression that influenced
my thoughts when viewing the vast collection at The National Art
Glass Gallery.

Amongst this extraordinary collection of important contemporary and
historical pieces I was drawn to sculptures with a common
narrative. Beautifully crafted objects both powerful and ordinary that play
a part in daily life, works that express a love for the landscape, portray
hardships endured and others which define Australian society and
culture. These came together to form the exhibition “This Australian Life”.

The exhibition includes pieces by many luminaries who were
pioneers in the Australian art glass movement in the 70s and 80s,
and of those who came from the United Kingdom, the United States
and Europe to teach at universities and studios around Australia.
Students were encouraged to defy convention, embrace technology and
pursue their own individual artistic direction. Armed with a broad
knowledge and practical skills they honed their practice and went on to
become some of the most innovative glass artists in the world today.

Having travelled to remote areas in Central Australia and the Northern
Territory I was mesmerised by artworks celebrating Indigenous culture
by artists Robert Murray with his powerful installation “Coolamons”,
Jenni Kemarre Martiniello with her delicate blown cane-worked piece
“Medium Green Rushes Eel Trap # 4 “, and Dorothy Napangardi’s “Salt
on Mina Mina” representing the long journeys of women ancestors
from Mina Mina, a sacred site in a remote area of the Northern Territory
west of Yuendumu.

Wendy Teakel’s sculpture “Just Walking” using kiln-formed float glass
and grasses, Jessica Loughlan’s minimalist piece “Close Distance 42” and
Stephen Procter’s “World Turning” in fused and carved glass evoke a sense of
stillness and of moving through the land with no beginning and no end.

Social injustice that came with colonialism is also expressed in
several works. “Please don’t Sit” by Gerry King fabricated in kiln-formed
glass in part references a demarcation between western society and those
various colonised cultures for whom the chair is alien and to be
associated with the dominant power and status. His sculpture
“Toledo Blade” cast in the shape of an axe with desolate mountains depicted
within is of a series initially inspired by recognition of the role the
axe-blade played in both building and destroying the colonised landscapes of
Australia.

There are sculptures I added because they fit within the landscape
of the exhibition although the source of inspiration was unclear. They
include Nick Wirdnam’s “Little Straw School”, a quiet contemplative piece
in blown glass and Vicki Torr’s untitled double cone bowl which evokes
joyous memories of huge raindrops exploding on the surface of water during a
tropical storm and jumping in puddles in the drenching rain.

The imagery contained in this collection of over thirty-five art glass
sculptures by twenty-seven artists express a diversity of ideas shaped by
environment, cultural beliefs and circumstance. They provide a snapshot
of Australian life and the collective experiences that form our identity and
continue to inspire and connect the generations.

 

 

Makes for a very pleasant stroll through the Australian glass-historic psyche and landscape – it’s a pretty thorough sampler of the oevre (and, indeed, the National Art Glass Collection itself.)

Exhibition on until 21st July. Always better to see it in the flesh if you can. More info here.

 

 

Paul Sanders and James Thompson

Paul Sanders and James Thompson, Rust, blown, raku glass vessel, hand forged glass spikes, bone and metal, size variable. Purchase funded by Wagga Wagga City Council, National Art Glass Collection 1998

 





Entries call for the 2018 National Emerging Art Glass Prize…

19 12 2017

Just in from the National Art Glass heartland (Michael Scarrone)…

 

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For previous winners/finalists/catalogues, mooch around here.

Don’t get distracted by the silly season, dudes; gold class opportunity – don’t miss it.

 

 





Dancing with the Flame: Contemporary Australian Lampworking…

21 11 2017

 

National Art Glass Gallery curator Michael Scarrone has just sent through some eye candy and happy snaps from Wagga Wagga Art Gallery’s latest showcase exhibition…

Artist list

Great looking event/project – between the demos, workshops and official opening, some very serious fun was clearly had by all…

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DWTF Ex label

Launched on the 14th October, it runs until 21st January 2018 – so there’s plenty of time to schedule a visit…

 

 





…and there was light

3 05 2017

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The Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is currently showing George Aslanis: Experiments in Light, a retrospective survey exhibition celebrating the practice of the loved and respected (late) artist/educator George Aslanis – former Head of the Glass and Ceramic Studio at Monash University, Melbourne.

This large body of work, sourced by National Art Glass Gallery curator Michael Scarrone from private collections across Australia, navigates the decades of George’s exuberant, investigative art practice…

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Media release….

George Aslanis: Experiments in Light 

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is proud to present a retrospective survey of one of the most influential and innovative artists in contemporary Australian glass, George Aslanis (1960-2016). Aslanis inspired a generation of glass artists to develop their passion and their understanding of the artform, and this new exhibition, George Aslanis: Experiments in Light reveals the great scope of his practice and his ideas.

George Aslanis began his artistic career in ceramics, but became drawn to the paradoxical qualities of glass, which he described in one interview as “dense and heavy and solid… it is the antithesis of light, yet it describes light in so many ways”. As head of the Glass and Ceramic Studio at Monash University for many years, Aslanis was a tremendous influence on glass students and artists across Australia, and many of the works on display in Experiments in Light have been loaned from former students.

Aslanis’ practice involves a dialogue that describes ‘states of being’, and symbols and metaphors are important motifs in his work. Drawing from cultures past and present he combined various elements to create visually complex cast glass sculptures. These objects are read from two sides, a sculpted textured surface and an open view into the interior space of the glass. The question of what exists beneath the surface, the interior life often unseen is a constant aspect of George Aslanis’ work.

As well as his artistic practice and his influence as a teacher, George Aslanis was also known for his passion as a collector, with an exceptional eye for objects of art, craft and design. His later works combined his collections with his art, with installations that intermingled early Venetian glass vessels with found chunks of furnace glass, detritus from the casting process.

George Aslanis himself once described his work as “a discussion about glass, its inherent material properties; these include the sensual and the metaphorical. Glass is a material in a state of becoming, an endless multiplicity of potentials.” Experiments in Light is itself a tribute to Aslanis’ own multiplicity of potentials, and the home of the National Art Glass Collection is a fitting venue to reflect upon the life and career of such an influential artist.

George Aslanis: Experiments in Light is on display in the National Art Glass Gallery at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery from Saturday 25 March until Sunday 9 July, 2017. An official closing for the exhibition will be held on Thursday 6 July at 6pm.

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[Big thanks to Michael for the imagery and info. What an absolute joy it must have been to put this show together! We can feel a road trip coming on… n(Ed)]

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And what’s on now…

10 09 2015

Currently showing at Wagga Wagga: Forget me not, featuring the work of Kristin McFarlane and Brenda Page…

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Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

Home of the National Art Glass Collection

Forget me not. Kristin McFarlane and Brenda Page

Exhibition Dates: Saturday 11 July – Sunday 11 October 2015

This exhibition presents a collection of glass time capsules incorporating family heirlooms and personal items to illustrate ways we attempt to remember and preserve the past. My body of work looks at ways that people have tried to hold onto memories through the collection of letters, mementos, clothing, photographs, botanical specimens and ephemera.

The thoughts and personal narratives evoked illustrate how lines from a letter, a faded photograph, piece of music or a fragment of fabric can trigger emotions and memories. When these are fused within glass the fragile qualities of the material allow these sentiments to be transformed into pieces which illustrate the delicate balance of life, relationships, memory, fragility and longing. The objects and images explore fragility, loss and transience through a collection of preserved and delicate items combined with glass and are not so much about remembrance rather than the act of not forgetting – ‘Forget Me Not’.

Kristin McFarlane

 

My current body of work explores mourning and loss. This is not confined to the topic of death but encompasses losses we experience over a lifetime. I see our lives as a series of compartmentalised stages, a series of short stories that entwine and overlap. As one of these tales closes another opens, giving us an opportunity to reflect and mourn what has past and what will never be again. I want my work to have an emotional honesty, most times seemingly ambiguous but with that undefinable something that speaks to the heart of anyone who cares to engage in the stories told. My imagery and visual style is heavily influenced by Victorian aesthetics associated with mourning and death. I have chosen to use such a visual style to explore my concepts as it has a universal clarity about its intentions. The use of glass underlines the narrative, speaking of fragility and simplicity.

Brenda Page

 

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Get with the program, peeps – take a family drive.

[Thanks Mikey. n(Ed)]

 





Just in from Wagga Wagga…

30 01 2012

Our fave intra-continental correspondent, Michael Scarrone, has sent us the latest scoop from The National Art Glass Gallery…

But we have to fess up that we’re really not sure whose work is whose, and it’s an indictment on art theoretic /so-called professional practice frankly that artists feel compelled to give such incredibly obtuse statements about their work that it’s a little confusing, without labelling, to figure out exactly which goes with what….more off-putting than connecting, let’s face it. And it’s all about communication, lovies…isn’t it?

[This is not a criticism apropos the lack of titling of the sent images themselves – the work ought to be sufficiently self-explanatary…to at least provide some visual hint. It turned into an interesting guessing game here at the Hideout – three of us (a woodie, a gold & silverie and a glassie) trying to match up image with artist statement. By the end we were none the wiser. It was generically interchangeable.  And once again those dreaded words ‘memory’ and ‘place’ bobbed to the surface like the infernal floaters they are. God in heaven save us. n(Ed)]

Actually, we quite like the titty glass (above). But the French dude getting arrested for the fake implants so recently might be influencing us subliminally…

And it’s a totally differently reading in the next shot…

So in the end we’re left a little clue-less.

That being said, bones and skulls always work for us, no contest. Perhaps it’s just that old renegade thang.





Wagga Wagga wow factor…

3 10 2011

We love Wagga Wagga as an exhibition space, but we have to admit we’ve possibly never seen it look so good – some work is just custom made for the place. Ruth Allen’s latest makes the joint literally ZING...

  

Ruth Allen

Counter-sync

  

The cutting edge of contemporary glass comes to Wagga Wagga’s National Art Glass Gallery in Counter-sync, an exhibition of works designed and created by artist Ruth Allen as part of her Synergetic Series. Allen has been developing methodologies unique to her synergetic expression since the year 2000; her relationship with the material glass is the catalyst for the design science of her ideas. This symbolic relationship between maker and material, technique and process has allowed the physical idea to come to fruition. Focused research has nurtured the scientific, theoretical and conceptual contribution to the development of Ruth’s expression.  

  

Allen says, “I strive to challenge perceptions of the potential of the medium; grounded in traditional hot glass techniques I choose to work sculpturally and often within an installation context”. The Synergetic Series is strongly influenced by the sustainable philosophies and designs of visionary thinker Buckminster Fuller, whose theory of Synergetics was an attempt to create a scientifically based poetics of experience. Fuller studied the inner geometries of the universe to design sustainable structures and cities, which focused on the synergy of the health of the planet, individuals and communities.

 

Allen’s abstracted works resonate on many levels with the organic forms, cellular structures and postmodern architectural compositions that proliferate in our natural and built environments. Large scale installations of forms combine with lighting effects to bring the phenomena of shadow into play.  

 

Counter-sync will be launched in the National Art Glass Gallery at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery on Friday, 23 November. The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, 13 November.

  

A Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Initiative.

Exhibition Dates

Friday 23 September – Sunday 4 December, 2011

                                                               

More snaps here.