Art of Glass

Glass has attracted creative people for thousands of years. A new exhibition involving 23 artists, designers and architects will tour Australia, studying the contemporary preoccupation with the material.

By: Jack Baldwin | February 28, 2015

Wendy Fairclough, Tribute (detail), 2014.

Photo: Grant Hancock.

Co-curated by JamFactory's CEO Brian Parkes and Margaret Hancock Davis, GLASS: art design architecture, explores every angle of the material and the ways it can be worked in to anything from tiny, fragile jewellery, to massive, iconic buildings.

 

"On the one hand it's such an ubiquitous, everyday material. I'm staring through it right now," Parkes says.

 

"We deal with it in so many ways. I just had a sip of water out of a glass. I'm looking at a glass screen, staring through a glass window. It's around us all the time and we often take it for granted."

 

GLASS, then, seeks out the mystery and wonder in the material. The exhibition has gathered everything from contemporary tea sets to windows from the SAHMRI building.

 

"A cut glass crystal is a fascinating object for any child or person. It just defies logic, the way that light works through it.

 

"It's such an extraordinary material, because you can see through it, because of the way that light refracts and reflects from it.  We were deliberately keen to have people consider the breadth of use of the material by creative people."

 

There's a tendency, Parkes says, to approach glass simply from a visual arts point of view, as beautiful sculptural objects - something South Australia's JamFactory has a long history with. But there's more to it than that.

 

"We really wanted this to be a way of using the material as a starting point, but looking out in to the world of creative endeavour, across those areas of art, design and architecture - and also the gaps between them."

 

One of the major displays is that of Woods Bagot's SAHMRI building. Located on the northwestern corner of Adelaide, it's a gravity-defying glass wonder. GLASS art design architecture has acquired a full-scale prototype of one of the medical research building's hooded, triangular windows.

 

 KOKET Eternity Chandelier

 KOKET Eternity Chandelier

Burlesque Console

Woods Bagot, South Australian Health and Medical Reasearch Institute, 2013.

Photo: Peter Clarke.

"I'm still in awe of the SAHMRI building. I see it every day and as a result my fondness for it grows. We've got an extraordinary video that flies through and shows all the aspects, how people are using it, the nature and transparency of the workspaces."

 

On the other end of the spectrum are Jess Dare's small, beautiful botanical specimens made from glass.

Jess Dare, Conceptual Flowering, 2013.

Photo: Grant Hancock.

"It's a sort of lamp working process using a glass torch, heating up the borosilicate glass rods and forming shapes, sculpting in the moment. I love the anal retentive intricacy of it," Parkes laughs.

 

"The poetic work of someone like Clare Belfrage resonates. Beautiful, quiet, hand-blown glass forms are such a classically beautiful thing in terms of glass. The way she works the surface to get this sort of cold lustre as opposed to the gloss you get from glass is just beautiful."

 

GLASS: art design architecture will be on display from 13 February - 18 April at JamFactory on Morphett Street, Adelaide, South Australia.

 

It will move to JamFactory at Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley, from 9 May - 19 July, before commencing a national tour until 2017, including regional areas and capital cities across the country.

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