Step a little closer, and get lost in the serene and sublime world of contemporary glass artist Ben Young.
Standing before Young’s work evokes the awe-inspiring experience of contemplating the vastness of nature. The feeling of standing on a cliff facing the wind, or taking a boat to the edge of the bay where it opens to the ocean– these experiences of man in nature are brought to life.
The concept of the sublime has long interested artists, since the 18th century creatives have attempted to capture the complex feeling that occurs when the body is dwarfed by nature and one feels a sense of beauty and wonder laced with fear. The idea of the sublime landscape is particularly relevant to New Zealand with our isolated position in the Pacific Ocean and our deep connection to our land/whenua.
Young’s little worlds act as microcosms of landscapes, which one can imagine inhabiting and exploring. His complex and multi-faceted compositions encourage the viewer to walk around them, appreciating all angles and perspectives.
The technical skill involved in creation of each piece is immense, requiring the artist to work with three very different media- glass, concrete and steel. Young painstakingly shapes layers of glass to fit perfectly into the contours of the concrete and steel. The glass creates the appearance of calm waters through which you can see the topography of the sea bed.
Young continues to push the boundaries of his practise. No longer constrained to the plinth, Young has embarked on works that hang in space, creating an experiential installation that showcases the qualities of his materials. These hanging works appear as spliced cross-sections of vast landscapes.
Little Worlds will present a suite of recent works by Ben Young. The exhibition will be open from November 8-30 at Black Door Gallery with an evening preview from 5:30-7:30pm on November 8.