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Wagga Wagga Art Gallery | Then and Now: Representations in Glass

Image: Denis O’Connor, Landscape 13, 2018 (detail), mixed media, engraved and scratched glass on board.
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is thrilled to present Then and Now: Representations in Glass, an exhibition highlighting the artistry and expertise of artist, Denis O’Connor. This unique exhibition showcases O’Connor’s early hand blown glasswork from the 1970’s and 1980’s through to recent explorations in his current practice.
Since training at the National Art School, Denis O’Connor has become a well-known figure in our art community through his engagement as a mentor, teacher and lecturer. O’Connor’s extensive art practice spans over several decades, exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally. During this time, he fostered a compelling relationship with our internationally recognised National Art Glass Collection. The history of Wagga Wagga’s National Art Glass Collection is beautifully documented in his book, An Unlikely Address: A Regional Gallery and the Genesis of a Collection; Wagga Wagga Art Gallery.
The early works in the exhibition are a significant representation of Australian Studio Glass, with pieces drawn from the Collection. These hand-blown glass works are characteristic of a pioneering period for furnace glass blowing during the 1970’s and 1980’s, at a time when artists’ emphasised an aesthetical outcome. These works were created with a sound knowledge of technical and manual skill and for O’Connor the free-blown vessel provided a platform for experimentation and established his confidence and accomplishment in the medium.
O’Connor’s relationship with glass has shifted over time, considering glass holistically within his art practice. Describing this approach, the artist states “I am fitting glass into my ideas when required rather than fitting my ideas into glass.”
These recent works are part of an on-going project that has directed O’Connor’s visual art practice over the past five years and are inspired by his time living in Canada. The artist has employed multiple techniques in the creation of these new works, which are rich in surface texture and evoke the experience of winter. O’Connor’s memory and emotional connection to the landscape is the driving force behind the works, which combine experimental drawings, with engraved and scratched glass pieces.
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery warmly invite you to the National Art Glass Gallery on Friday 14 December at 6pm where Grace Cochrane, former Senior Curator of the Powerhouse Museum will officially launch O’Connor’s exhibition Then and Now: Representations in Glass and An Unlikely Address: A Regional Gallery and the Genesis of a Collection; Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. The exhibition is on display until Sunday 10 March 2019, with his book available to purchase at the Art Gallery Shop.
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