16 June - 8 July 2017
A celebratory exhibition - for Peter Layton's 80th Birthday
My word… How did that happen? Who knew that eighty years could go by in a flash?
To celebrate, I invited some of the pioneering spirits of British Studio Glass to join me in an exhibition. Each of them has made a huge contribution to glass art and each of them is still at the top of their game. Alison Kinnaird MBE and Katharine Coleman MBE are the world’s leading glass engravers; Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg have recently set up their new studio in Wales. They are stars of the international glass world and create wonderful sculptural works on an architectural scale. David Reekie and Colin Reid are the UK’s foremost sculptors working in glass and their work is incredibly popular, largely being snapped up by the international market. Sam Herman and I are now ‘golden oldies’ who helped to forge the way in the early days and encourage the next generation, some of whom I have invited to join us.
Louis Thompson and Tim Rawlinson need little introduction and Layne Rowe is exploring new genres, including glass jewellery. Anthony Scala, likewise, is turning his hand to filmmaking. Joseph Harrington, Dr Heike Brachlow, Livvy Fink, Nancy Sutcliffe and Karen Browning bring consummate talent and skills to the expression of their remarkable and innovative ideas.
It is my privilege to work with and exhibit alongside the new generation of great glass makers. Whatever my legacy may be, I am confident that the future of British glass art is in safe hands.
- Peter Layton
BALDWIN & GUGGISBERG
Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg have been working together since 1980, creating large scale installations of blown forms, and exploring all manner of techniques in glass. Their work has been exhibited across the world, including in Germany, Israel, Japan and the USA. Contrary to their abstracted appearance, Baldwin & Guggisberg’s modern, geometric ‘Guardians’ pieces incorporate narrative elements; exploring themes of Venetian history, courtesans and courtiers in the era of the Doge.
DR HEIKE BRACHLOW
Dr Heike Brachlow, PhD has worked in glass for more than a decade and has been recognised by many prestigious awards, including the Jerwood Makers. A frustration with the limited palette available in coloured glass prompted her to develop methods to create bespoke glass colour for kiln casting. Her artwork incorporates her findings, and her pieces are geometric, architectural, and unexpected.
Working in cast solid black glass, Karen Browning explores the use of the black mirror through history in society and art. Her polished pieces, which occasionally use gilded elements, are sleek and sophisticated. Currently working as Colin Reid’s assistant, Browning has honed her casting and polishing skills under his influence since 2004.
KATHARINE COLEMAN MBE
Fascinated by the optical properties of glass, Katharine Coleman works in glass engraving on clear lead-crystal forms, often using coloured overlays. Using the traditional wheel-engraving technique, Coleman’s pieces are patterned and crisp, often incorporating a playful element. She was awarded an MBE for services to glass engraving in 2009, and her piece ‘First Snow’ will be featured in 2017’s New Glass Review.
Anthony Scala profiled Katharine at her studio in advance of ‘Celebrating 80’ in this video called, ‘The Art of the Wheel’.
Livvy Fink’s artistic practice is inspired by the endless potential of the physical world to spark creative imagination. Through collaborations with astronomers and biologists, her work examines the world on a macro and micro level. Fink has also broadened her practice through public art initiatives as well as installations including ‘Reflections’ the 2016 exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral.
After developing his ‘lost-ice’ process, Joseph Harrington has forged a completely unique path in the British glass movement. His organic pieces are haunting and inspired by the natural landscape, and his piece ‘Ravine’ was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum during Collect in 2017.
After a visit to Joseph Harrington’s studio this spring, Anthony Scala created ‘Harnessing Erosion’, a short film exploring Harrington’s artistic practise and his lost ice process.
A student of Harvey Littleton, glass artist Sam Herman is one of the founders of the studio glass movement in the UK. In ‘Celebrating 80’ he will be presenting pieces made during a residency at London Glassblowing.
ALISON KINNAIRD MBE
Alison Kinnaird is a supremely talented glass engraver. Her exquisite pieces are precise and detailed, exploring themes within the human condition. Their wheel-engraved surfaces have a subtle sculptural depth, while LED lights highlight different aspects of a surface, bring her work to the fore of new ideas in glass.
Founder of London Glassblowing in 1976, Peter has worked to broaden the UK’s understanding of glassblowing, as well as contemporary glass as an art form. Celebrating his 80th birthday this year, Peter has developed several glass art series and participated in many exhibitions and collaborations with major art institutions including Tate Modern, the Royal Academy and the National Gallery. Peter will be presenting a piece from his May 2017 residency at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma.
David Reekie’s figurative sculptures are created using lost wax and pâte de verre techniques. Presenting a new series entitled, ‘Strangers’, Reekie examines the suspicions and fears regarding movement of refugees in Europe and surrounding issues. Through the particular nuances of a piece including facial expression, body language or other quirks, he invites a viewer to re-evaluate closely held ideas.
Drawings by David Reekie will also be on display during ‘Celebrating 80’.
Colin Reid has been working in glass since 1980 and has developed a reputation as a pioneering force in kiln cast glass. Often combining glass with other materials, including metal, stone and wood, His work is in over 50 collections worldwide.
Tim Rawlinson’s fascination with the way light passes through glass informs his work. He exploits transparency, as its essential and primary quality, manipulating and distorting both colour and form in order to challenge his viewer’s perceptions.
Layne Rowe recent series entitled ‘New Horizons’ are inspired by the vast ‘dreamy’ landscapes of the fens. Incorporating subtle colourways, and making use of layered colour fades and combinations of delicate canework layered and cut in his inimitable style.
Anthony Scala’s highly polished work appears simple and straightforward, yet his pieces are crafted with tremendous complexity. Each component must be drafted with mathematical precision, in order for the sculpture to work as a whole. Every length and angle calculated, then meticulously recreated in glass. The resident filmmaker, Scala has also created many films profiling Peter and the artists featured by London Glassblowing.
A contemporary glass engraver, Nancy Sutcliffe was recently featured in a 2016 solo show, entitled ‘Mirror Mirror’ at the Galerie Eisch in Frauenau, Germany. Working in engraving, painting and gilding, Sutcliffe creates meticulously detailed pieces on themes of animals and people, adding pattern and colour to embellish her work with a whimsical edge.
Our senses arouse our curiosity, searching for answers through sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The unknown experience is the one that attracts our attention with desires that arise unexpectedly.
These objects encourage you to look beyond the form and beyond what sight alone presents. The sense of illicit touch is an enquiry to investigate, enticing you to engage and connect to the intimacy that is suggested and unidentified. They create physical gestures where each blemish, crease and curve is relished and felt through the fingertips.