Thursday, 29 January 2009

Glass Invitational NZ at Canterbury Museum

Gallia Amsel: West Coast Surf 17 (2008), cast glass, sandblasted, acid etched & polished

The annual Glass Invitational NZ runs until February 8th at the Robert McDougall Gallery in the Botanic Gardens, and if you haven't seen it yet, you should get down there. It's a small but diverse show.

Particularly interesting to me were:

Elizabeth Thomson's Another Green World series of wall pieces, where spiny microbial forms emerge from depressions in a gently-moulded green landscape, which resembles 1950s upholstery.

Stephen Bradbourne's White linear bottles and White linear frond form, which are stunningly displayed in a black room by themselves, on a black pedestal with lights illuminating the white forms from below, so they glow. The glowing gourd-like bottle forms seemed full of life.

Elizabeth McClure's Domestic Science series, of scientific glassware decorated with floral and leafy patterns. The decoration is in some cases sandblasted onto the surface of the beakers and jars, and in some cases applied, creating the appearance of burnout velvet. The overall effect is subtly disquieting, a disconcerting mix of the clinical with the domestic.

Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams' Sophora Chandeliers, where cast kowhai blooms are suspended from glass brackets. I don't know if downlighting for these pieces was not available in this gallery, but they were displayed each with a glaring bulb in the centre, which destroyed the subtle play of light within the pieces that you can see on the website.

You can see all the pieces in the show illustrated here. But go and see it if you can, you get a lot more from walking around the artworks than you do from just looking at photos of them.

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