Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design
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Mel Douglas is one of the most celebrated artists working in glass today. Douglas’s refined and detailed work employs a minimalist aesthetic along with considered mark-making to engage a dialogue of how line and form can define and defy our understanding of space and volume. Douglas’ work explores the potential, versatility, and flexibility of glass as a material for drawing, and with it, expands our view of glass as a sculptural medium.
In Douglas’s words, “objects and drawings are often thought of as two separate entities. my pieces explore and interweave the creative possibilities of this liminal space, where the form is not just a support for drawing; but a three-dimensional drawing itself. Using the unique qualities of the material and the rich potential of mark-making on and with glass, I am using line as a way to inform, define and enable dimensional space”.
Mel Douglas has worked as an independent studio artist since graduating from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University, in 2000. In 2020 Douglas was awarded a Ph.d. for her practice-lead research investigating how we can understand studio glass through the aesthetics of drawing. In addition to winning the 2020 and 2014 tom Malone Prize- a prestigious award through which a work is acquired each year into the collection of the National Gallery of Western Australia – Douglas has received several major awards, including the Ranamok Glass Prize in 2002 and the International Young Glass Award in 2007 from the Ebeltoft Museum of Glass.
In 2019 her work was the inaugural acquisition for the Australian National Gallery of Art’s Robert and Eugenie Bell Decorative Arts and Design fund. Douglas’ work is held in the private collections and public institutions internationally, including the Corning Museum of Glass, The Chrysler Museum of Art, the Ebeltoft Museum of Glass, and the National Gallery of Australia.
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Inspired by experiences in the natural world for many years now, Clare Belfrage has forged an international reputation for her distinguished work with detailed and complex glass drawing on blown glass forms.
She has maintained a vibrant practice for thirty years. She has been an active part of artists’ communities, particularly in Adelaide and Canberra, including the glass based studio blue pony, of which she is a founding member, the JamFactory Glass Studio in Adelaide and, Canberra Glassworks where she played the pivotal role of Creative Director from 2009 to 2013.
Clare has had a long involvement in education and has lectured in the glass programs at the University of South Australia, SA, and Ohio State University, USA and Curtin University, WA. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia. She has also taught numerous workshops throughout Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the United States.
In addition to Australia, Clare regularly exhibits in North America, Europe, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. Her work has been recognized for its innovation and originality and in 2005 and, 2011, she was awarded the Tom Malone Glass Prize by the Art Gallery of Western Australia. In 2016 she was awarded the inaugural FUSE Glass Prize for Australian and New Zealand glass. In 2018 Clare was the South Australian Living Artist Festival feature artist and subject of the festival’s annual monograph, Rhythms of Necessity, written by Kay Lawrence and Sera Waters.
Clare’s work is represented in major public collections including National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Corning Museum of Glass, USA, Museo do Vidro, Marinha Grande, Portugal, Tacoma Museum of Glass, USA, National Art Glass Collection, Wagga Wagga, ArtBank, NSW, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Museum and Art Gallery of Tasmania and Northern Territory Museum.
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I have a drive, a lust and greed for color.
My ceramic forms are “playgrounds for glaze,” and I like to challenge the rules and roles of ceramics by disassociating the material from its stereotypical or culturally accepted uses. Removing still-hot pieces from the kiln, I apply liquid glazes to the surface creating a sizzling sound and a haze of steam until the glaze sticks. It is an intuitive process that emerges through multiple firings and layers of glaze. The work is born of the spontaneous dripping, sliding, running, climbing and crawling that occurs; the movement of the material is my medium.
The use of hair—which I see as a metamorphosis of the clay—serves as an extension of the ceramic process and also transgresses the permanence of clay, resetting the boundaries of ceramics reflected by cultural standards. My work also addresses my transitional stage between multiple cultures and languages through the complex layering of materials onto my ceramic sculptures. I believe contemporary ceramics will serve as a latter-day artifact of our current acknowledgment of cultural identity. It is a material strongly connected with history but never limited just to its heritage—a new age of ceramics will be one where style is no longer restricted to the old forms.
Ultimately, I desire to invite others into my side of the spectrum and to learn and study about how ceramics is more than just clay.