When:1 - 20 December
A menagerie of glass creatures from stories dark and fair, of forest, sea and air by Spike Deane, Mark Eliott and Peter Nilsson.
Opening remarks by Beverly Growden, Friday 1 December, 6pm.
For me glass represents a fantastic medium for pictures and shapes. A material that is transparent and almost invisible is better that a blank canvas and can be shaped and filled with almost anything. A sculpture in glass can be looked at, in to and through.
I’m using lamination to create some of my sculptures. It makes it possible to seal the engravings inside the solid form. I like to play with people’s eyes. The figure you see inside the sculpture is only a hollow space. I must admit that when I start working the bastards often start live their own lives, and it isn´t always that the end result looks exactly as the original idea.
I usually don’t get my inspiration from glass itself, instead as so many other artists I get inspiration from nature. A form, a colour, and the movement in the body. This time I have tried to focus on observations, and the subtle communication you can get with an animal that chow the same curiosity as you do in the interaction.
My thoughts often circle around the human’s place in nature when it’s worth putting up a fight or when it´s right to hide or go with the flow, what our options are to take control or if we are just exposed to the elements.
When I moved to Australia from Sweden seven years ago I realised how similar the cultural mentality is. I guess both Australians and Swedes are nature romantics. We have to deal with nature in a respectful way, otherwise it will deal with us. We are not guests who watch and visit the nature once in a while. We are a part of it whether we like it or not.
My arts practice draws on narratives found in folk and fairy tales with a focus on themes of individual transformation, metamorphosis and the idea of becoming. Rich in archetypes and symbology, these seemingly simple stories are constantly retold, renewed and analysed to suit our times and to reflect our way of seeing the world. Every generation finds its own way to re-imagine the core stories of our folk traditions. It is this process of reinvention and renewal that captures my fascination with the folk and fairy-tale realm.
Mythology, Folk stories and Fairy tales are full of talking animals and beastly transformations. Some animals may be helpful and full of advice, others are cunning and tricky. Enchanted transformations from human to animal form can be wondrous or a terrible punishment. I’m interested in the symbolic resonance that a particular animal gives to a story & what that choice reveals about the story teller and the audience.
Hooded Plover and Jodie Dunn (Hero’s in the war for species survival series)
Hooded plover and Jodie Dunn alludes to the story of a shore birds struggle to survive since it lays its eggs on a beach now beset by foxes, dogs, Ravens, gulls, vehicles and heavy feet, and the miracle of cross-species empathy, that occurs when a thoughtful Homo sapiens comes to its rescue. Jodie Dunn has dedicated much of her time to the hooded plovers protection in Kioloa NSW. To me, she belongs to a powerful though usually unseen army, across the globe, of rare and precious people choosing to fight in a war to protect biodiversity. She is a member of a prolific yet vulnerable animal species; capable not only of the most horrendous stupidity and violence, but also of the most indescribably beautiful insights and generosity.
Improvisation in Green with Weedy Sea Dragon (Slow growth Improvisation series)
The story of this work Began as an improvisational glassblowing performance on the theme of seaweeds, corals and sponges, at ‘Bondi the Beautiful’ festival, July 2012, Afterwards it grew into a prickly green sculpture in my studio then strangely fizzled out for lack of purpose. it lay dormant on the shelf for a year until a weedy sea dragon drifted in amongst its foliage – instantly bringing to life. Finished in August 2013, the piece became a homage to marine life in a more literal sense. I enjoy the contrast of form and colour as well as the combining of loose abstraction with a specific figurative element. My attempts to portray weedy sea dragons began nearly 20 years ago when my little son Kieran showed me a dried specimen he’d found on Bondi Beach.
Family of Little Terns
The attempt to represent an organism in glass (or any media) is an impossible yet strangely rewarding project. In this I am influenced by the 19th century marine biological specimens of Rudolph and Leopold Blaschka which to me, suggest a meeting of art and science. Little Terns were first introduced to me by Geoffrey Strutton a friend with a boundless appetite for wildlife observations.
These beautiful sea birds – found internationally and on much of Australia’s coastline, feed on small fish and invertebrates in shallow waters. The males and females share nest building and parenting. Like the critically endangered Hooded Plover, their eggs are laid directly on the sand leaving them highly vulnerable to a variety of predators as well as inadvertent crushing by beach goers and vehicles.
At Jimmy’s beach in central NSW, The Council and National Parks and Wildlife are collaborating with local community members to protect a colony of birds which have recently chosen to nest in a stockpile of dredged sand used for repairing beach erosion.