Stop! in the name of love…
Craft Australia recently posted Megsie’s Tour de Force catalogue essay on their website, prompting the following email from Stephen Skillitzi…
Hi Megan and the ‘glass diaspora’,
I really appreciated your article, especially these 2 excerpts below, for this show “tour de force: in case of emergency break glass”. It reflects my reservations about the current narrowing of accepted or ‘politically correct’ Studio Glass into largely a vacuous chasing after Venetian-inspired maestros. Despite enlightened exceptions, the old 1960′s spontaneity that I keenly remember seems to many newcomers to be ‘outdated’ at best and despised at worst. Sadly in that ‘group think’ process innovative idiosyncrasies are unwittingly suppressed.
It is good to see Neil Roberts has not been forgotten…. what a great ‘go-it-alone’ talent!
…from Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass
Curator Megan Bottari’s catalogue essay from the exhibition Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass featuring work by contemporary Australian artist’s Timothy Horn , Deb Jones, Nicholas Folland , Neil Roberts, Trish Roan, Ian Mowbray, Jacqueline Gropp and Tom Moore.
“… No matter how proficient the imitators of Dante Marioni or Lino Tagliapietro ultimately become, such patently derivative work will always lack the lustre of the genuine article. Not because any less skill is required, or the degree of difficulty is in question, but because the work doesn’t have any real creative integrity of its own.
It becomes a technical exercise with barely a hint of personal signature. To make a proper mark these days, studio glass needs an indelible stamp of unmistakable individuality – and the reinvention of this well-worn wheel is becoming an increasingly rare achievement. Part of the problem is the lack of risk. When artists opt for the safety of the shallow, commercial end of the pool there’s not likely to be much splash.
It’s time to redress the balance and re-introduce the development of strong conceptual practices that engage on a broader, humanist level - in a way that pushes the boundaries and intelligently interrogates the art-craft dichotomy. In other words, it’s time to encourage the upcoming generation of glass artists to spread their wings and start considering their work in terms of a serious contemporary art practice. They need to get out and get funky with it. Perhaps this is where things have gone awry. A culture of accelerated maturity has been allowed to develop – resulting in a whole generation of glass artistsstarting out as ponderous sophisticates. It’s all too artificial. Too stilted. You are what you make – and artists have an obligation to be faithful to their own true nature…..”
Thanks for the feedback Stephen, we’re definitely on the same page in this regard (and have been for some time, without doubt.) Glass peeps have to stop, re-examine their practices, and get back in touch with the genuine passion. Rediscover the love, people, that’s what we’re talkin’ about.