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Refraction Award Winners

Published October 10, 2012 23:16

Glass artists recognised for work that reflects nature

Two New Zealand glass artists have been recognised for their work, following the announcement of two prestigious awards.

The Awards were announced at the opening of New Zealand’s only outdoor glass sculpture exhibition RE:FRACTION, curated by Tim Walker and sited at The Sculpture Park @Waitakaruru Arboretum, near Hamilton. The exhibition opened to the public on October 06 and runs until November 18, 2012.

Karin Barr from the Waikato received the Vazey Child Glass Award for her subtle and sophisticated work ‘Treasure Stones’ and Jo Conroy from Wanganui was awarded the NZSAG Emerging Artist Award for her bold and playful sculpture ‘Colour My World’.

Awards judge Dr. Carole Shepheard said that it was “no easy task” choosing the award winners from among the 20 pre-eminent New Zealand glass artists exhibiting at RE:FRACTION. But what stood out to her about Barr and Conroy’s works was “how well they related to the site – a former quarry – the way each used their material and then extended its potential.”

German-born Barr said that she was “excited and flabbergasted” to win the Vazey Child Glass Award. To her, ‘Treasure Stones’ is a tribute to the former quarry site and an acknowledgement of the eight years that The Sculpture Park has been holding exhibitions. Located in the rock garden area of the Park, Barr’s nine iridescent glass stones cast subtle forms on the scree bank, their elusiveness created as they blended into the rocks and the dependence on the natural light to bring out their extraordinary colours.

Formerly of West Auckland, NZSAG Emerging Artist Award winner Conroy said that the “inspiration for ‘Colour My World’ came from the use of quarry stones enclosed in steel wire boxes to reinforce and make retaining walls.” She saw beauty in the earth and rock layers, with the various strata’s showing different colours and qualities. The combination of steel and glass in her work “understood the balance needed between the two materials and both enhanced the other. The metal cage was nicely balanced and the blown ball shapes neatly 'packed' into the cube”, said Shepheard.

The Sculpture Park @ Waitakaruru Arboretum works closely with The Waikato Sculpture Trust, to provide a venue that is uniquely suitable for sculpture exhibitions. The Park has been the site for more than 20 sculpture exhibitions since it opened to the public in November 2004. The sculpture exhibitions in the Park are organised by the Trust Board.

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