Friday night at the BVRG…

 Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass has opened at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery and looks positively splendiferous.

Nic and Trish made it down for the opening, which was a serious bonus, and a lovely fall-about was had by all. The show had actually been open for the week leading up to the official launch so a large percentage of the opening-night-regulars had swung by the gallery beforehand. The gallant faithfuls, needless to say, still braved the cold and dark…

…and were rewarded with a fortifying drop of Rocky Hall red and a rousing speech from Klaus…

More snaps of the opening and hang here.

Tour de Tour: Adelaide…

The Gang flew to Adelaide last Friday – Megsie was giving a floor-talk for the Jam episode of Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass. It turned into a weekend of convergence all round; Deb flew back from Melbourne and Tom flew back from Japan – which was just as well because, let’s face it, a glass-centric visit to Adelaide would have been unthinkable without them. 

Anyhoo, we were most chuffed to see the exhibition had made the front page of the Adelaide Review…

…which was a lovely start to the proceedings. (Adelaide was in the grip of Sevens fever, rugger buggers from you-know-what to breakfast, so it was a miracle that the arts got a look in at all.)

 

Afterwards we swung by Gate 8 to check out the latest configuration…

… then Tom and Rosie’s new abode, where they’re in the middle of make-over d’Moore…

and then on to lunch at a fabulous Spanish restaurant at Semaphore with Julian and Kez  who were down from Roxby.

The arvo was spent in the backyard over a few bevies with the pooches…

…after which Joe topped off the day with a glorious dinner of Chilli Crab…

                          

…hard to take, what.

Thanks to all concerned for their fine and generous hospitality. We loves ya big time.

Random snaps here.

The Tour’s tour…

Finally we’ve managed to emerge from the quagmire of the day job to post the launch of the Tour de Force; in case of emergency break glass national tour in Wagga Wagga …was it only two weeks ago?

But, oh, how fabulous it was to fly in from the cold, overcast scenario of Bega to the expansive blue sky and welcoming warmth of Wagga Wagga. Darlings, what a contrast!

The Gang was met at the airport by the lovely Linda Elliot and taken to the National Art Glass Gallery for a squizz at the hang…

…before being dropped off at the Quest Apartments – with plenty of time for a swim in the pool before we needed to gussie up and make our way back to the Gallery…where we found Michael on deck (having just that minute driven in from Victoria)…

It’s quite fantastic to see the show at a different venue, and of course Wagga Wagga is one of our fave glass galleries – albeit an incredibly challenging space, installation wise. Michael Scarrone (who’s been curating there since 1999) has it all well in hand, of course. 

[Michael, btw, is filling several shoes at present – including Acting Art Gallery Manager since Cath Bowdler moved on – hence his regrettable absence from the Ausglass conference the week before.  n(Ed)]

It was a particularly pleasant opening: great local wine from Charles Sturt; tucker courtesy of the Friends of the Gallery; proceedings were kicked off by Wagga City Council’s GM, Phil Pinyon…

…then Megsie did her thang…

…and then Mayor Wayne Geale gave a speech…

…after which it was time to view the show…

…and press the flesh…

Anyhoo, we met lots of lovely peeps…

…and dinner afterwards was seriously pucker. 

The only bummer is our perennial regret that Wagga Wagga is so far away. (If it was closer to the coast we’d live there!!)

Thanks to all involved for their wonderful hospitality.

And thanks particularly to the City of Wagga Wagga Art Gallery for their partnership with artisan in the development of this project. 

Snaps of the opening and hang here.

All the good oil on the artists here.

Photo credits belong to Drew Halyday, also with sincere thanks […the Gang was a tad pre-occupied! n(Ed)]

Tour de Force: the artists…

Whacko – the national tour of Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass is about to get underway. It’s being installed at Wagga Wagga as we speak and will be up from the 21st Jan – 13th March (and officially opened on the 28th Jan by Megsie) before moving on to The Jam. So we thought we’d celebrate by posting the fabulous List of Players

Growing up in Parkes, NSW, Deb Jones recounts that her sister was the reader and she was the maker, and that’s the way it still is. Her 20’s were spent between art school and travel, and she graduated from the Canberra School of Art in 1992. She moved to the JamFactory in Adelaide in 1993 to do her glassblowing traineeship, and it has subsequently become her home. In 1995 Deb and a group of friends opened a glass studio called Blue Pony, and more recently (2007) she has established a new studio, Gate 8, with Jessica Loughlin. Her time is currently divided between Gate 8 and the JamFactory glass studio, which she runs on a team basis with Tom Moore and Nick Mount. She enjoys drawing, making design work, artwork or, for that matter, anything – for Deb, the cup’s half full regardless of the circumstances.

Jacqueline Gropp grew up in a house sheltered by a weeping willow in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she explored aspects of the world through the material of transparent glass including: night stars through the lens of a telescope; the many eyes of a spider temporarily trapped in a converted Vegemite jar; too many bad 70’s comedies through the television screen; and pink bubbling concoctions contained within test tubes of her brother’s chemistry set. Intrigued by Muranese glass, she came into contact with the material’s molten form through glass blowing lessons before undertaking a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Art, Canberra, where she graduated with First Class honours in 1997. Awards including the ANU Peter and Lena Karmel Anniversary Award for Art, Thomas Foundation Pilchuck Professional Scholarship and Australia Council Visual Arts/Craft Fund Development Grant allowed her to travel to New Zealand, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands and USA where she was able to exhibit, study and undertake research into the history of scientific glass apparatus and become enamoured with the depiction of glass in western painting and the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. She currently lives and works in Canberra where she sporadically creates works for public scrutiny.

Timothy Horn‘s work focuses on the meeting point between the natural and constructed worlds. Much of his work has drawn extensively from the sphere of decorative arts, concerned with the inherent/assigned gendering of objects. More recent work attempts to locate the area of slippage between the organic and artificial. Often working at an ambitious scale, he chooses to work with materials for their inherent physical and metaphorical qualities. Inspired by 19th-century zoologist Ernst Haeckel’s engravings of jellyfish, he began an ongoing series of large works made of transparent rubber, that culminated in his first solo exhibition in New York, Villa Medusa in 2006. More recently the fabled “Amber Room” belonging to Catherine the Great of Russia, considered “the eighth wonder of the world”, inspired a crystallized rock sugar encrusted carriage for Horn’s exhibition Bitter Suite at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in 2008. Horn’s work has featured recently in exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, GoMA, Brisbane, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. A Samstag Fellowship took Horn to study in Boston in 2002. He has lived in New Mexico since 2006. It is a region and landscape, which has greatly influenced his work.

Neil Roberts trained as a glassblower at the JamFactory in Adelaide in the late 1970’s, followed by a stint at the Orrefors Glass School in Sweden in 1981 and the New York Experimental Glass Workshop (Urban Glass) a year later. On his return to Australia he was invited by Klaus Moje to join him as associate lecturer at the fledgling Canberra School of Arts Glass Workshop. Roberts had a broad arts practice that straddled disciplines and media, and a natural curiosity and empathy for materials that inevitably eventually drew him away from a dedicated glass focus. He was the recipient of numerous awards including Australia Council residencies in New York (1989) and Manila (1991), the inaugural ACT Creative Arts Fellowship for Visual Arts (1995) and the Canberra Arts Patrons Organization Fellowship (2000). Working primarily with glass, neon and collected objects, he was a sculptor of growing reputation at the time of his accidental death in 2002. The extraordinary spirit of his practice remains evident in his extant public art commissions and the large body of collected works held both in private and public hands.

Ian Mowbray has been working in glass for nigh on three decades. He originally rented space in the Jam Factory with partner Vicki Torr in 1981, followed by the establishment of Moto Glass in 1989. Since moving to Melbourne in 2000 and setting up a new studio (World Glass), Mowbray has been working exclusively with kiln formed glass. Only too aware that glass is already extraordinarily beautiful in its raw state, Mowbray resists the easy path of coasting on the obvious material properties and investigates instead the darker potential offered by the medium. His main focus lies in the personal political: the torments and desires inherent in daily domestica. He is represented by Diane Tanzer Gallery.

While the practice of Nicholas Folland generally highlights an anxiety for potential failure in everyday activity, the primary work considers this notion through a relationship between the controlled space of domestic dwelling, and the unpredictable chaos of the natural environment. By forcing everyday appliances to a point of excess, and by colliding their practical application with their inherent reference to naturally occurring forces, there is an attempt to highlight a fragile relationship to the world, and to shift our perceived sense of stability and security within the home.

 Nicholas Folland is a restless artist who is currently holidaying in his birthplace, Adelaide. He is a Samstag Scholar who studied within the research program at the Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam and the University of Barcelona, completing a Masters Degree at The University of Sydney in 2009. He has lived and worked in Australia and Europe, and examples of his practice are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, as well as University and Regional Galleries and private collections internationally.

 Trish Roan grew up in Melbourne, and moved to Canberra to study glass at the ANU School of Art, finishing with Honours in 2006. Since then she has been working as a glassblowing assistant for several artists, as well as working in her own studio at ANCA (Australian National Capital Artists). She has exhibited her work in various locations in Canberra, as well as in Denmark as part of the ‘Young Glass 2007’ exhibition. Trish  undertook a research residency at the Sydney College of the Arts in 2009 and has recently returned from a 2010 exchange/residency in Canada. Her practice lies somewhere in the margins of crude science and everyday miracles. For now, she lives and works in Canberra.

 

Tom Moore uses traditional and innovative glass techniques to breathe life into his eccentric hybrid specimens. Though Tom’s inventive creatures are mostly friendly, he addresses darker issues such as nature vs. industry in his dreamscape dioramas. For the last 10 years Tom has been the production manager at the JamFactory Craft and Design Center in Australia, where he makes varied commissioned items, and trains graduates in glass production and exhibition work. Tom exhibits his glass in elaborate mixed media environments and was featured in a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney this past Fall. Tom’s work has received a number of awards and is in many notable collections. 

Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass is coming your way – catch it at a venue near you.

 

It’s official!!

Just in from Blanchie…

Hey Megsie

Just saw this on Arts Hub

Congratulations!

Xxx Blanche

QUEENSLAND

Artisan – idea: skill: product

Tour de force: In case of emergency break glass

This exhibition features nationally and internationally respected Australian glass artists Timothy Horn, Deb Jones, Jacqueline Gropp, Nicholas Folland, Neil Roberts, Tom Moore, Ian Mowbray and Patricia Roan. The curatorial rationale of Tour de force focuses on creating an experience designed to inspire thought and fuel discussion about glass as a cultural medium. It challenges the traditional ideas, methods and materials of glass making and tackles broader issues of the human condition with the aim of inciting greater community thought and debate.   

The exhibition will tour to nine venues throughout New South Wales, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

Touring Funding: $84,040

Feedback on Tour de Force…

                                   Stop! in the name of love…

Craft Australia recently posted Megsie’s Tour de Force catalogue essay on their website, prompting the following email from Stephen Skillitzi…

Hi Megan and the ‘glass diaspora’,
I really appreciated your article, especially these 2 excerpts below,  for this show “tour de force: in case of emergency break glass”.  It  reflects my reservations about the current narrowing of accepted or  ‘politically correct’  Studio Glass into largely a vacuous chasing after Venetian-inspired maestros. Despite enlightened exceptions, the  old 1960’s spontaneity that I keenly remember seems to many newcomers  to be ‘outdated’ at best and despised at worst. Sadly in that ‘group  think’ process innovative idiosyncrasies are unwittingly suppressed.
It is good to see Neil Roberts has not been forgotten…. what a great  ‘go-it-alone’ talent!
regards,
S.S.

…from Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass

Curator Megan Bottari’s catalogue essay from the exhibition Tour de  Force: in case of emergency break glass featuring work by contemporary  Australian artist’s Timothy Horn , Deb Jones, Nicholas Folland , Neil  Roberts, Trish Roan, Ian Mowbray, Jacqueline Gropp and Tom Moore.

“… No matter how proficient the imitators of Dante Marioni or Lino  Tagliapietro ultimately become, such patently derivative work will  always lack the lustre of the genuine article. Not because any less  skill is required, or the degree of difficulty is in question, but  because the work doesn’t have any real creative integrity of its own. 
It becomes a technical exercise with barely a hint of personal  signature. To make a proper mark these days, studio glass needs an  indelible stamp of unmistakable individuality – and the reinvention of  this well-worn wheel is becoming an increasingly rare achievement.  Part of the problem is the lack of risk. When artists opt for the  safety of the shallow, commercial end of the pool there’s not likely  to be much splash.

It’s time to redress the balance and re-introduce the development of  strong conceptual practices that engage on a broader, humanist level –  in a way that pushes the boundaries and intelligently interrogates the  art-craft dichotomy. In other words, it’s time to encourage the  upcoming generation of glass artists to spread their wings and start considering their work in terms of a serious contemporary art  practice. They need to get out and get funky with it. Perhaps this is  where things have gone awry. A culture of accelerated maturity has  been allowed to develop – resulting in a whole generation of glass  artistsstarting out as ponderous sophisticates. It’s all too  artificial. Too stilted. You are what you make – and artists have an  obligation to be faithful to their own true nature…..”

Thanks for the feedback Stephen, we’re definitely on the same page in this regard (and have been for some time, without doubt.) Glass peeps have to stop, re-examine their practices, and get back in touch with the genuine passion. Rediscover the love, people, that’s what we’re talkin’ about.