For over three decades, the artist Anna Dickinson has been working with glass to create exquisite vessels in a range of colours and shapes, often combined with metal or other materials. Her new exhibition opens at von Bartha’s gallery space in S-chanf in the Engadin Alps on February 17, 2016. The show features Dickinson’s elegant new glass sculptures paired with wall pieces by fellow von Bartha artists.
Highly skilled and attune to the properties of glass, Dickinson is able to perceive and push the limitations of the material. Motivated by the question, "What if?", her works embody both risk and perseverance. Glass, a seemingly delicate material, is here transformed into robust, dense objects through Dickinson’s on-going experimentation. As such, her pieces defy the viewer‘s prior knowledge of the medium as the appearance of her work blurs the boundaries between glassware, ceramics and sculpture. Often choosing an opaque surface for her pieces, whether matt, glossy or patterned, the works also possess a weight and texture which are unexpected.
Featuring works made from a range of materials and techniques, Nine exhibits the extent of her skill and diversity of her work. In Green Faceted Vessel with White Rim, the glass was cast using the method of lost wax casting which is most commonly used for working with bronze, in another work Clear Vessel with Perforated Aluminium Liner the artist has coloured the surface with grafitti paint, while Black Faceted Vessel with Steel and Gold Plated Rim was created through the more traditional method of glass blowing.
The relationship between light and glass is integral to Dickinson’s designs. Her pieces, whether composed of hard geometric planes or a continual smooth surface, play with the refractions and reflections of the light around them. Her darker coloured vessels seem to create a warm glow within them, while the clear works, such as Clear Vessel with Steel Liner use the light to break up the surface of the metal cylinder within it. Form and line are also important elements in Dickinson’s work. A major source of inspiration are the linear formations found in the work of Constructivist artists Lucio Cavallio and Willis de Castro, as well as artists from the Minimalist movement. Her pieces, with their precise outline and high degree of finish, have been compared to the style of Donald Judd, while the robustness of her structures and her use of rusted steel highlight the artist’s affinity with the work of Richard Serra. In contrast though, Dickinson‘s dedicated, hands-on approach to the creation of her work is at odds with the industrial aesthetic of both of these artists.
The immediate and striking impact of each of Dickinson’s pieces conceals the labour intensive process of their creation; each piece can take her months, sometimes years to make. It is a testament to Dickinson that in their precision and engineering each individual work appears both effortless and faultless.
Anna Dickinson (b. 1961, England) a trained glass blower and silversmith, has been working as a glass sculptor for over 30 years. Dickinson has exhibited at TEFAF for over 20 years. In 2015 she had a major retrospective at Musée Ariana in Geneva entitled Harmonies de Verre.
Her work has been included in presentations at Das kleine Museum, Weiβenstadt, Germany (2013); European Triennial for Ceramics and Glass in Mons, Belgium (2010), Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2005); as well as at Venezia Aperto Vetro, Venice where she was a guest of honour (1996). The artist has been shortlisted for both the Bombay Sapphire Prize, London (2004 and 2005) and Jerwood Glass Prize (1996). Her work is held in renowned international collections including the V&A, Fitzwilliam Museum, Brighton and Hove Museums, Liverpool Museum, Castle Museum (Norwich) and Castle Museum (Nottingham) as well as the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and Kyoto, and Coburg Museum in Germany, amongst others.
Dickinson lives and works in London where she is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art.