Belfry Exhibition – LightBox: Explorations in Glass, Light and other Phenomena

Posted by on May 23, 2018 | Comments Off on Belfry Exhibition – LightBox: Explorations in Glass, Light and other Phenomena

Belfry Exhibition – LightBox: Explorations in Glass, Light and other Phenomena
A Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition Curated by New London Glass

Open Thursday 7th June, 6-9pm and the following three weekends 1-5pm (9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th June 2018)

In 1998 a group of artists organised a collective to put on a unique show at the Candid Arts Trust in Angel, Islington. What brought us together was a common interest in glass; working with the material and exploring its properties as a light transmitting substance in relation to the space surrounding it. Tired of the limitations of the gallery where our work would be labelled either “Art” or “Craft”, we tookmatters into our own hands and sought out an interesting space where we could control the lighting and the placement of our work. We deliberately scheduled the show to coincide with the Jerwood Prize exhibition at the Crafts Council, just down the road. It represented a kind of Salon des Refusés that showed an alternative to the kind of pristine and soulless white plinth mentality of the establishment. We calledourselves “New London Glass” as if to announce the intention of starting with a freshperspective, and freeing ourselves from the preconceptions of what glass art should be.

From this auspicious beginning, our group went on to curate successful shows for the Platform for Art in Gloucester Road Underground Station, The Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool Street and a wonderful touring show in collaboration with Hungarian artists that visited Budapest, Bruges and Rotterdam as well as London and Liverpool in the early years of the noughties.

Twenty years later, many of the same challenges exist, some of which have become more difficult. Exciting shows that include artists working with glass are hard to come by and spaces to exhibit have become even more costly. These hurdles affect artists in many ways and make it difficult to create work that takes risks. Galleries too are affected by these challenges and often see glass installations as problematic rather than an opportunity to show work that explores the fascinating qualities of the material.

Many of our colleagues have been working outside of the established gallery circuit since we last showed together. Some are architectural artists working mostly to commission, some have had children, others went into teaching or academia, some moved away from London to continue their practice in a more sustainable environment. Yet all of us have retained our passion for glass and our ambition to produce thought-provoking and visually stimulating work in glass and light responsive materials.

In celebration of our twentieth anniversary, the core members of NLG met up and decided to mark the occasion with an exhibition. We tracked down many of our old colleagues and found some new artists keen to exhibit. We found a wonderful space to show in the atmospheric belfry of a neoclassical church right above Bethnal Green Tube Station.

Working with light, glass and sound our artists are creating a Cabinet of Wonders in this dark space. We are also spilling out into the staircase leading up to and inhabiting the daylight-flooded North gallery running alongside the belfry.

On the North Tower Staircase:

Gaby Kienle: floating clouds of crystalline droplets.
Kirsty Brooks: intriguing pools of reflected light on time weathered walls
Martin Birk Møller: childlike toy birds, flying in formation beneath the stairs
Angela Thwaites: a cluster of forms hovering between digital objects of the future and bioluminescent organisms of the deep sea
Kate Williams: adding brightness to the gloom with a pulsating neon piece

In the Belfry:
Tim Cunliffe: an enigmatic bell panel, created in subtle layers with flashed glass and containing references to the echo locating sonic abilities of bats –a compellingillustration of ‘Bats in the Belfry’
Anne Brodie: a case of hidden treasure, a box of half revealed jam jars containing a mysterious glowing substance
Cathryn Shilling: an exquisite carousel gently rotating to reveal a running figure inspired by Muybridge
Max Jacquard: towers of oscillating glass layers, evoking sonic waves and Whirling Dervishes
Helen Maurer: a captivating sound piece using wine glasses and spoons; inspired by a board in the Nave of prayers for the sick and the departed, and the ritual of tapping a glass to gain attention. Helen also shows a piece capturing the movements of dichroic light patterns dancing on the walls of the Belfry.
Sabrina Cant: incredible geometric forms, glowing from within in complex colourscapes to evoke the diadems or stones of holy Reliquaries
Anne Petters: fragile leaves of crushed crystal, embossed with delicate writing like the fluttering pages of a book caught in a breeze.
Sam Sweet: flower garlanded, electroformed crystal vessels inspired by the forms of chalices
Sally Dunnett: luminous pixelated panel, a colourful particulate landscape set in contrast to the darkened walls
Margareth Troli: lamp and mirror installation suggesting an opulent domestic interior, creating a strange juxtaposition to the aged brickwork of the church
Rogers and Norrgren: a jumble of lost keys, a host of personal memory objects that offer alternatives to the one key found on a hook in the Belfry

In the North Gallery:

Matt Durran: ghostly ship effigies, constructed from a collage of lamp-worked tubes and sheet glass evoking the silent memorials to travellers on the sea
Anna Chrysopoulo: gorgeous wrapped objects and a group of her optical puzzle forms, both illustrating a playful exploration of glass in combination with copperLucy Wade: beautifully understated abstract landscapes, a sequence of overlaying patterns in monochrome using glass and textured fabric

Jon Lewis: sculptural blown forms encased in a rich patina of rusty steel
Gayle Matthias: a powerful sculpture that transforms car exhaust pipes into entrails and a collage of glass sheets into a city of strange shadowy architecture

Angela Thwaites Anne Petters Gayle Matthias

All these marvels will be available to peruse on the first Thursday evening of June and the three following weekends from 1pm till 5pm. We have also invited DJs to compose a complementary sonic landscape to accompany the show and we will have a bar in the nave of the church on the opening night.

For further information visit our social media sites: Facebook: newlondonglass twitter: @newlondonglass