Open Work: Giles Bettison and Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, and “Transference” by Melinda Willis, Canberra Glassworks, until May 3.

Reviewed by Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak

Liminal Space 5, 2010, by Melinda Willis. Photo by Rob Little.


BETTISON, a 2006 graduate of the glass workshop at ANU uses a technique known as Murrini, or mosaic glass, where variously coloured glass canes are layered up and then drawn out under heat, resulting in cross-section designs.

Originating around 360 BC in Egypt and adopted by the Venetians in the last part of the 19th century, Bettison’s plates, vessels and blocks cleverly reference the flowers and architectural details found in Venetian lace.

Glass is a team sport and Kemarre Martiniello acknowledges the glass artists resident at the Canberra Glassworks who have assisted her, in the four years since she began working with glass, to realise her ambitious bodies of work. In this exhibition she presents a suite of eel and fish traps, conical baskets and dilly bags, using a combination of hot blown and cold worked glass and canes, both new and recycled. “Eel trap #4”, hot blown glass, canes, in its long, imperfect, sinuous curve comprehensively references the indigenous fibre eel traps that inspired this collection.

Melinda Willis is one of the most exciting conceptual glass artists to emerge from the last decade. The installation “Transference” comprises 15 variably sized panels of kiln-formed and cold-worked opaque, mirrored and clear glass and continues her interrogation of the interactive properties of glass within the urban environment.

The layout compels viewer movement and rewards with unexpected glimpses: the viewer reflected in a mirrored panel; UV-cured inkjet prints on glass of nighttime traffic or city dwellers reflected on to other panels or foreshortened through a layer of clear glass. Thrilling, really.

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Ian Meikle, editor