Transparent Things - Expressions in Glass

GLASS is an ancient and versatile medium. Its unique optical and physical qualities have inspired artists over the centuries. As the contemporary international Studio Glass movement reveals, artists today respond to the medium with the same passion and imagination as the artists and artisans of the third millennium BC.

Transparent Things - Expressions in Glass illustrates various responses by visual artists to the defining characteristic of glass: its transparency. The exhibition draws upon the extensive glass collections of the National Gallery of Australia and the Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery.

Until the modern era, glass was not a commonplace substance. Indeed, for much of its history glass was a rare, costly and prized commodity. In antiquity, for example, glass was made to resemble coloured gemstones and was prized equally with them.

Later, in Renaissance Venice, master craftsmen perfected a thin and fragile decorative glass called cristallo that was the envy of collectors throughout Europe and in the East. Eighteenth-century glassmakers in England further refined the manufacturing process to make glass of unrivalled clarity and refractive brilliance.

Fine vessels or objects of glass can evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity prompted by the fragility of the medium, its watery transparency and the spectacular and fiery process of its manufacture.

The title of this exhibition is taken from Vladimir Nabokov's novella 'Transparent Things'. The story suggests that a sense of the past 'shines through' transparent things, a notion reminiscent of certain ancient and enduring beliefs in glass as a magical or enhanced substance.

Popular literature and folklore allude to fabulous glass people or objects: coffins of glass, temples of glass, unbreakable goblets of glass, mountains of glass and, most familiar of all, slippers of glass, showing our fascination with the medium.


Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery
7 December 2001 - 27 January 2002
Wagga Wagga NSW

Broken Hill City Gallery
8 February - 17 March 2002
Broken Hill NSW

Geelong Art Gallery
29 March - 12 May 2002
Geelong VIC

Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale
15 June - 21 July 2002

Craft ACT
27 September - 10 November 2002
Canberra ACT






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Jar with bear couple lid,  BERNSTEIN, William; 1973, Crafts Board of the Australia Council Collection 1980
Neckpiece,  COURTNEY, Giselle; 1989
Decanter,  DRESSER, Christopher; HUKIN & HEATH, ; 1892
Fronding Vase,  HALL, Fiona; 1999
Untitled (knife 2),  ROBERTS, Neil; 1984, Funded by Crafts Board, Australia Council
Vase,  ROUSSEAU, François-Eugène; APPERT FRÈRES, ; 1878
holes,  TAKAHASHI, Yoshihiko; 1998, Purchased with the assistance of the Friends of the Gallery
Vase,  HOFFMANN, Josef; WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, ; 1915, Purchased from Gallery Restaurant Funds 1984
Amber folded form,  LITTLETON, Harvey; 1973, Crafts Board of the Australia Council Collection 1980
Terraqueous,  REA, Kirstie; 2001, Purchased with the assistance of the Thomas Foundation 2001
Orange Cleavage-Smith,  ROLFE-POWELL, Stephen; 1997, Purchased with the assistance of the Art Gallery Board of Trustees
Vase,  Unknown maker, ; 3rd quarter, 4th century AD
Fazzoletto corroso (Handkerchief) vase,  VENINI & C, ; BIANCONI, ; design 1948, manufacture c.1950
Ø X 3 (Lens Series),  WHITELEY, Richard; 1998
Red Object # 2,  BRUCE, Jane; 1995
Mind Play bowl,  GORDON, Kevin; 2001
Guardian 1,  HIRST, Brian; 1985, Purchase funded by Wagga Wagga Regional Gallery Society
Wira (carrying dish),  KULITJA, Rene; 1996
Not at Home,  MOWBRAY, Ian; 1989
Winter Pear and Summer Pear,  STADUS, Pam; 1993
Simultaneous voyage 3,  WILLIAMS, Maureen; 2000
Vista #96,  BETTISON, Giles; 2000
Macchia with drawing,  CHIHULY, Dale; 1984
Scene 1994,  IKEMOTO, Kazumi; 1994
i sing, of time tide,  KNOTTENBELT, Robert; 1992, Funded by Visual Arts/Craft Board, Australia Council
'Eucalyptus' vase,  LALIQUE, René; RENÉ LALIQUE & CIE, ; design: 1925, manufactured until 1947
Neckpiece,  MINSON, James; 1989
Uriarra,  MOJE, Klaus; 1985, Purchased from Gallery admission charges 1988
Double Gatherer,  PROCTER, Stephen; 1995
Puka Vase,  ROBINSON, Ann; 2000, Funded by the Thomas Foundation
Line Drawings,  BELFRAGE, Clare; 1998
Home journey #2,  BORELLA, Claudia; 2001
The Ascension,  CHASELING, Scott; 2000
Stria (Olive/Cobalt),  CURTIS, Matthew; 2001
Murrini Vase,  ELLIOT, Kathy; EDOLS, Ben; 1994
Self-portrait,  HALEM, Henry; 1973, Crafts Board of the Australia Council Collection 1980
Newcastle cameo vase,  HANNING, Tony; 2000
Close Distance 42,  LOUGHLIN, Jessica; 2000
Teapot,  MARQUIS, Richard; 1974
Vase,  POWOLNY, Michael; LÖTZ WITWE, Johann; 1915-18
Crystal Clarity | Coloured Clarity | Inner Worlds | Translucency | Opaque Counterpoint |
Stria (Olive/Cobalt),  CURTIS, Matthew; 2001