Master artist manipulates his material

visual arts

Nick Mount: “The Fabric of Work”

At Canberra Glassworks, 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, until June 19. Open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am to 4pm.

Reviewed by Meredith Hinchliffe

NICK Mount was honoured as the seventh Living Treasure in Object’s “Masters of Australian Craft” series in 2012.

"Plum on Corten," photo-Pippy Mount1

“Plum on Corten,” photo-Pippy Mount1

A prominent and influential glass artist, he has been contributing to Australian glass for over 35 years. In addition to the illustrious title, Living Treasures benefit from a travelling exhibition of their work and a monograph.

The title of this exhibition is a reference to the very deep belief Mount has in work – the work he makes, the work he does in the making process, and in handwork. He identifies as a maker and believes ‘work’ is fundamental in the development of identity.

A limited number of forms are repeated in the show – plumb bobs, fruit, and combinations, or sets, of scent bottles.

Viewers might be familiar with the graceful curves of the scent bottles – the stem, the body and the long slim necks topped by fine swooping threads of glass. The pieces are grouped and form still life arrangements. Mount uses glossy glass, often highlighted with white. A group of fifteen opaque scent bottles in the palest of pink and white makes up “White Granulare Composition,” 2006, one of the major exhibits. The surface of each element is different, some glossy, ‘some matt, with the surface work creating texture, shadows and interest. Each piece must be closely examined to gain full appreciation of the whole.

The ‘bobs’ are numerous, some displayed on small cushions and others hung on the wall. Two in particular stand out, with their carved, polished surfaces that give the viewer a window to the piece of timber they are suspended on. This is the magic of glass.

Fruit, with carved wooden stems are a recent development in Mount’s work. While they are very similar to artist Nick Wordnam’s work, these pieces are austere, in form and surface. The matt surfaces are soft and glow under the light, in stark contrast to the high sheen of the scent bottles. The surface drawing on ‘Sketchy Plum #010512’, recreates the appearance of bloom on a ripe plum.

Mount is a master glass blower and has the ability to manipulate his material to create his exotic, flamboyant scent bottles as well as the more restrained newer forms. This exhibition is outstanding and for those with an interest in Australian glass, is well worth several viewings.

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