Annual Canadian Glass Show

West End Gallery, Victoria
June thru Sept

Monk's Flasks (1998),
blown glass

In recent years, Canadian glasswork has rapidly become internationally renowned. The medium as an art form evolved in relative isolation from glasswork in other countries, yet is already considered very competent and technically advanced. In large part this was due to the persistence of small private studios. Simultaneously, these have become more viable in the last thirty years.

Earlier this year, the West End Gallery hosted a three-month exhibition of Canadian glass. It represented work from the refined and elegant to the robust and monolithic. Their current exhibition continues to focus on the dualities inherent in the medium, and the challenge and rewards of its pliability and solidity.

As glass artist Paulus Tjiang stated, "Glass has all the physical and structural advantages of clay, and is, in addition, optically active". Whether individual pieces were blown, poured or sculpted, their sculptural elements are saturated with translucent and transparent light and colour.

Many pieces have strong links to the natural world with botanical and organic themes. Thought-provoking pieces have been formed from glass in conjunction with wood, feathers, teeth or beads. Still others, like the mosaic-fused platters, paperweights, reverse-painted plates or perfume vials, are more functional but no less communicative.

© Mia Johnson