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Back to the Future - Contemporary Glass Exhibition


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An exhibition catalogue of Back to the Future - Contemporary Glass Inspired by the Past which took place from 28 September till 17 October 2018 at the Association of Arts, Pretoria.
This show presents seventeen South African artists using glass as part of their oeuvre and was curated by Lothar Böttcher.

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Back to the Future - Contemporary Glass Exhibition

  1. 1. BACKTO THE futurecontemporary glass inspired by the past A Contemporary Glass Exhibition 28 September -17 October 2018 Association of Arts Pretoria
  2. 2. Pretoria is a proverbial melting-pot for creative glass. With this in mind several contemporary protagonists using glass in their oeuvre have been invited to exhibit new works which are inspired or reference the broad history of glass globally. The suggested parameter is glass art, objects, tools and/or artefacts which predate 1900. This can be a stained glass window from a cathedral, a venetian goblet, Libyan desert glass ,a prehistoric spear tip and much much more. This exhibition aims to further cement our small glass community’s vernacular as part of the global vitreous dialogue. Back to the Future is curated by Lothar Böttcher and runs from 28 September till 17 October 2018. Association of Arts Pretoria Artists: • Olwethu de Vos • Gordon Froud • Caitlin Greenberg • Mike Hyam • Martli Jansen van Rensburg • Thabang Monoa • Kgotso Pati • Maxi Pretorius • Ian Redelinghuys • Liesl Roos • Nicole Rowe • Mbali Tshabalala • Diane Victor • Retief van Wyk • Marileen van Wyk • Berco Wilsenach • Lothar Böttcher BACKTO THE future contemporary glass inspired by the past
  3. 3. Back to the Future Thank you to the Association of Arts Pretoria, Pieter van Heerden and a special thanks to Nandi Hilliard for all their effort and constant support in making this, the second major glass art exhibition in Pretoria, possible. Incidentally, the Art Association turned 71 this year and I wish this institution many more years promoting and supporting contemporary artists from and around Pretoria. Pretoria is also home to the glass faculty at the Tshwane University of Technology offering glass blowing, casting, kiln work, flame work and cold work. This is the only one of its kind on the African continent… Back to the Future is an oxymoron. How can one return to that which lies ahead… ? The title elaborates further - Contemporary Glass Inspired by the Past. As curator and instigator I wanted to challenge the narrative, suggesting a parameter of inspiration where artefacts predating 1900 should be considered and translated into a contemporary glass object or glass narrative. This almost magical material permeates our everyday lives. It keeps bugs from flying into our face whilst driving down the street; contains that vintage wine; and allows us to like all those millions of pictures on our digital devices… It was during the Roman empire, over two thousand years ago, that glass making became wide spread. Through their ingenuity, patronage and appreciation they transformed a secret society into a large manufacturing business within their times. To this day not much has changed in the hand-made glass industry. Sure, we are using electric furnaces and water jet cut profiles, but the general principles of heating sand, soda and lime and shaping, casting, rolling, cutting, floating and blowing is still a standard. Glass has also catapulted our notion of where we are in this amazing cosmos. Hans Lippershey invented the telescope and it was Galileo who pointed it to the heavens and discovered moons around Jupiter and mountains on the moon. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek perfected little glass droplets as lenses to discover “animalcules” writhing in droplets of water. Some say we are living in the age of glass now. Without it all contemporary communication would be impossible, from the terra-bits blasting through optical fibres to that little 4 inch screen in your pocket. I would also like to acknowledge that not all the glass makers and shakers of Pretoria are represented in this exhibition and hope that this show will kindle conversation and planning for the next chapter… Lastly and definitely not least, I would like to thank all the artists who participated in this exhibition. Without your creative spirits this show and our local glass community would not be possible. You are amazing! The future for South African glass looks bright! Lothar Böttcher (Curator)
  4. 4. Olwethu de Vos Negation of the other Glass, copper and wire
 48 x 48 x 11cm
  5. 5. Olwethu de Vos Negation of the other In an age where technology and technological expansions have reached an all-time high and are continually advancing, the idea of Nano biotechnological human enhancements, cyber intelligence and Artificial Intelligence or AI as it is commonly known are not farfetched ideas. Robotic advancements, the internet, social media and information overload, shape the contemporary society. I work predominantly in glass and I fuse iron rods, electrical cable, wire and various other found objects with my glass and in my work. My work incorporates microchips patterns as symbolism to the various technologies. I superimpose them over fragmented and distorted human faces to reflect the overload of information. My blown glass works have minimal finishes, and have a likeness of the robotic sentinels from the famous 2008 science fiction block buster called the Matrix. Humans have become so dependent on technology and with reason as these advancements make life easier for all. However this warrants caution. Has the race become so reliant on technology that life without it wouldn’t be possible? What would destroy mankind, taking it away or creating more of it? This is the dichotomy I aim to discuss with my works. The dawn of the post-humanism
  6. 6. Column (after Brancusi) Found objects (lampshades) reworked
 200 x 30 x 30cm Growth with feeling Found objects reworked
 30 x 25 x 9cm Gordon Froud
  7. 7. Gordon Froud Growth with feeling; Column (after Brancusi); Tulip Sonata; The one in ten, a number on a list I have worked with multiples of found objects in my practice for many years. For this exhibition, I have utilised glass measuring devices from laboratories along with other glass objects to construct new forms thus using the old (past) to create the new (future). These forms may remind the viewer of my virus works shown in the last 10 or so years. The Column (After Brancusi) is fashioned out of 1970's lampshades in white glass. The one in ten, a number on a list Found objects reworked
 9 x 22 x 25cm Tulip Sonata Found objects reworked
 28 x 30 x 30cm
  8. 8. Caitlin Greenberg Trade Cristalica glass and mixed media
 250 x 40cm
  9. 9. Caitlin Greenberg Trade The slave trade started in Africa 200 - 300 AD, with glass beads being one of the major imported goods from South East Asia and the Middle East, then later from Venice, Portugal and the Netherlands. The term ‘slave beads’ crudely came about when Westerners used the term “the uncivilised of the world” when referring to Africans. The exploitation of South Africa’s natural resources included slaves; peoples’ lives were traded for a simple glass bead. Slave beads were exchanged for human cargo which was in turn traded for other desired goods. As a current practicing glass artist in Africa I aim to pay homage to those who lost loved ones due to the glass bead slave trade. How can glass beads be of equal value to a life? May these current plaster cast glass impressions of my feet create a virtuous path forward for glass in Africa.
  10. 10. Mike Hyam Salaheddin Glass, steel and plywood
 23 x 80 x 37cm
  11. 11. Mike Hyam Salaheddin This artwork is a tribute to all people, especially women and children, whose lives are torn apart by senseless wars. The name ‘Salaheddin’ is a group of traditional Syrian glass blowers who have for hundreds of years made functional objects and lights as their family tradition. The artist was fortunate to see the beautiful blown glass at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe in 2016. Unfortunately the artists could not attend due the war in Syria. In this artwork a small version of the traditional Syrian lights is encased in cast glass. The Syrian cities where these people live and try to uphold their family and religious traditions are being devastated by American bombs – In particular the MK2 FIN GUIDED BOMB, which fragments have been found in various parts of Syria.
  12. 12. Martli Jansen van Rensburg Fleeting memory Blown glass and mild steel
 80 x 80 x 30cm
  13. 13. Martli Jansen van Rensburg
 Fleeting Memories I’ve always been a collector of memories, collecting objects that I’ve found through my travels abroad, objects that I have inherited from my grand mother and mother. These objects vary from treasures from my childhood to my mothers reading glasses. All these objects carries memories that I hold dear and these objects have found a special place in a display case in my living room. When I pick them up I can remember a landscape, smells, feelings and people of a different time in my life. In this artwork I’ve blown glass pieces and I push these memories into the hot glass. They fade into the glass, like a ghost image, these memories also fade and make place for new memories to come.
  14. 14. Thabang Monoa Time collapsed Glass
 38 x 80cm

  15. 15. Thabang Monoa Time collapsed The title of this work, Time Collapsed (2018), is a response to the theme of the exhibition: Back to the Future. When scrutinized closely, this theme has an interesting paradox that engages with notions of temporality where time is thought to be cyclical; and the act of gesturing towards the future involves, conversely, a reflection into the past. In this sense, time is never linear and is perhaps marginal; involved in an endless process of becoming. In view of certain technical and conceptual attributes that glass has, this state of marginality or “in-betweenness” is resembled quite convincingly when considering its ambiguous nature as a solid and/or liquid material. Even more so, when considering its taxonomical fluidity. Thus, this work is speaking to my observation of glass’ propensity to elude fixity; henceforth collapsing into a marginal space that is constantly “becoming”.
  16. 16. Kgotso Pati Every drop counts I Glass
 30 x 30 x 30cm
  17. 17. Kgotso Pati Every drop counts South Africa is experiencing the biggest drought since the early 1900s, which is directly affecting property owners. Water security begins and ends at the individual level. The issue is not only how much water we have; it is also a matter of how people understand what water security means in their daily lives, especially considering that the governance and distribution of water are challenged, water scientist at the CSIR. However the good news is that there are always solutions to our problems. This much would seem obvious, the less water that is used and the more water that is saved will go a long way towards addressing the current shortages, every drop counts. Every drop counts II Mixed media
 39 x 50cm
  18. 18. Maxi Pretorius Present Blown glass
 38 x 27 x 27cm
  19. 19. Maxi Pretorius Past, Present, Future My glass was inspired by Art Nouveau. A style of decorative art, architecture, and design prominent in western Europe and the USA from about 1890 until the First World War and characterised by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms. Art Nouveau Glass normally consists of curvy lines, stylised flowers and leaves, and often an oily, iridescent finish.  Past Blown glass
 25 x 16 x 16cm Future Blown glass
 27 x 23 x 23cm
  20. 20. Ian Redelinghuys All together Centrifugal cast glass
 34 x 34 x 13cm
  21. 21. Ian Redelinghuys All together The impetus/inspiration for this piece is taken from the drive (and misuse) of mankind to act in a united manner, thus unity with no cohesion. Togetherness with no realisation cynically still. All together Centrifugal cast glass
 34 x 34 x 13cm
  22. 22. Liesl Roos Disolve Kiln formed glass
 45 x 33cm
  23. 23. Liesl Roos Dissolve & Ghosts A personal cosmology, my work combines photographic imagery, archival photographs and painting techniques to create imagery that explores ideas around identity, transformation and the notion of home. Morphing reality by manipulating images, my work enquires how identity is a process and not a fixed principle, an ever changing development. Feeling simultaneously rooted and removed from South Africa my work is a personal exploration of being human; behaviour, emotional states and the idea of home as an existential character (seeking somewhere to identify with is seeking your own identity). In these glass pieces I consider memory as part of the construction of the self. Exploring these familiar and unfamiliar spaces - uncertainty and anxiety, the unknown and nostalgic, the familiar and the foreign - I investigate the ambiguity and contradictions I feel within myself in this environment, seeing the human body as a site of re-imagination and possibility. Ghost Kiln formed glass
 45 x 33cm
  24. 24. Nicole Rowe Kalos Digital printed clear glass and navy blue rough rolled glass
 65 x 65cm Photo: Rupert de Beer
  25. 25. Nicole Rowe Kalos I love peering through a scope, staring at tiny, beautiful and vibrant glass pieces. What a mesmerising invention by Sir David Brewster patented in 1817. The slightest turn of a hand and these tiny glass fragments rapidly and magically transform into a variety of colourful patterns. Life is like a kaleidoscope! Mesmerising and altering continuously. With this in mind I took a photograph of a flower which I altered into a kaleidoscope. Flowers are fragile and can be crushed with the touch of your hands. This symbolises the fragility of our state of mind. The soul and body was portrayed by cutting up different coloured glass into triangular fragments according to a diagram of Sir David Brewster's patterns of a polycentral kaleidoscope. I added images of chakras and stars - chakras representing the internal light emitting within us, which is our soul, and stars representing our bodies, which consist of the same elements as stars. I then overlaid the two images by superimposing these three elements. I am expressing the wondrous power you have in just the turn of your hand. You have the abilities of creating infinite, kaleidoscopic patterns into the fabric of your very existence through the slightest alterations of your body, mind and soul.
  26. 26. Mbali Tshabalala Untitled Blown glass 
 29 x 10 x 10cm & 23 x 10 x 10cm
  27. 27. Mbali Tshababalal
 Untitled & Untitled This work uses cartography as a physical theme, using topographic abstraction to draw from 19th century cameo glass style formalist characteristics and merge them with modernist abstraction.
  28. 28. Diane Victor Little sleep Smoke on glass, shadow
 40 x 37 x 27cm
  29. 29. Diane Victor A Little Sleep A little sleep, a little slumber A little folding of the hands to sleep A little love, a little hate, babe A little trickery and deceit Foi Na Cruz- Nick Cave My interest in working with smoke and glass was in the potential for the smoke drawing to throw a shadow of itself onto another surface. Smoke is a fragile and unsubstantial medium and when used as a drawing tool on a glass sheet becomes even more ghost like as the translucence and transparency of the material is made more obvious than when it is caught on paper. Despite this translucence the ghost of a smoke drawing can throw a distorted, darker shadow, which appear may far more substantial and real than the original drawing made of smoke.
  30. 30. Marileen van Wyk Eclectic Glass
 ca. 17 x 8 x 8cm each
  31. 31. Marileen van Wyk Eclectic I have always been fascinated by the way wine glass stems have been decorated throughout time, some to the point of being completely non- functional. The wine glass stems that show skill and beauty are the most attractive to me and I tried to make stems that is beautiful to me and hopefully show some comparable skill.
  32. 32. Retief van Wyk
  33. 33. Retief van Wyk Crawling The derivation of this work stems from a flat Victorian Hand-rolled Seedy sheet glass from the early 1900’s. The glass is uneven, scratched and shows beautiful imperfections and textures. Sheet glass is multi faceted with workable surface behind, in front and also (with acquired skill) inside it. I work on all these levels to create visual images. The glass is fused, sand blasted, etched, fired, painted, screened, often multiple times to create the desired effects. The final glass “plate” is then photographed and printed. The art work is not glass per se, or even about glass. The glass medium is used as a means to an end. The work is manufactured or prepared, using the unique translucency, depth and texture of glass. It ends up as a work of art, on paper, on the wall, behind glass. Crawling Canon Lucia pro ink printed 360gsm Hahnemühle 
 museum etching paper
 60 x 60cm Photo: Retief van Wyk
  34. 34. Berco Wilsenach Crated (Undescribed) Crated (Undescribed) Sandblasted glass with lighting elements
 58 x 58 x 24cm Photo: Carla Crafford
  35. 35. Berco Wilsenach Crated (Undescribed) The ‘Blaschka’ glass models (late 19th early 20th century) were biological representations of the increasing fascination with our natural world. They are renowned for their extreme delicacy and remarkable accuracy. Just more than a century later, mankind has expanded to such an extent, polluting and encroaching onto the natural habitat of thousands of species, that the survival of these fauna and flora is very unlikely. All that will remain will be the documentation of a bygone era.
  36. 36. Lothar Böttcher Obsession Hand carved, cut and polished optical crystal, steel
 161 x 50 x 70cm Pocket Lens Hand ground & polished optical crystal
 17 x 7 x 1,5cm
  37. 37. Lothar Böttcher Obsession Obsession enlarges the concept of the Pocket Lens where one can now peer through the framed lens “head”. This kinetic sculpture resembles our 21st century obsessive indulgence with those hand held digital windows through which we experience and form opinions of the world around us and beyond. I reference our innate inquisitive nature which gave rise to discoveries through a glass lens – as Galileo peering into the heavens and Van Leeuwenhoek discovering “animalcules” in droplets of water and the general essence of the “Natural Philosopher”. Crystal Bloom The origin of glass, per se, is sand. Sand originated from stone and stone in its part makes up the crust of our planet. It’s not just any stone but sandstone in particular I am using in my Crystal Bloom sculptures, where glass blossoms emerge from the seemingly mundane. Ironically, I also use stone wheels to make my optical incisions in the glass and use minerals to polish these cuts back to bright. Crystal Bloom is also a metaphor of amalgamation, where different techniques and collaborations combine into a narrative - much like our glass community as a whole. Pocket Lens Through my Pocket Lenses I reference Homo Faber - “Man the maker”. Obsidian is a natural glass created through volcanic eruptions. Ancient man recognised advantages in this material, notably its sharp edge for making knives, hand axes, spear points and jewellery out of these natural shards. Today we still use hand held tools, notably glass tools in the form of smart phones. We might not be skinning a deer with these contemporary wedges but have transformed global societies through the little window they offer. Crystal Bloom Hand blown, cut & polished glass, sand stone, steel
 21 x 32 13cm
  38. 38. Contact • Olwethu de Vos 076 959 8247 • Gordon Froud 084 423 8635 • Caitlin Green berg 084 726 2970 • Mike Hyam 082 652 4490 • Martli Jansen van Rensburg 082 457 1674 • Thabang Monoa 073 070 0371 • Kgotso Pati 083 597 2056 • Maxi Pretorius 082 956 9055 • Ian Redelinghuys 082 880 7076 • Liesl Roos 082 560 6932 • Nicole Rowe 072 713 3259 • Mbali Tshabalala 062 392 7698 • Diane Victor 083 226 8796 • Retief van Wyk 083 291 0917 • Marileen van Wyk 083 530 2800 • Berco Wilsenach 082 926 7414 • Lothar Böttcher 083 276 7594 Association of Arts Pretoria 173 Mackie Street Nieuw Muckleneuk, Pretoria Tel: 012 346 3100 Like us on Facebook: https:// Pieter van Heerden 082 774 4390 Nandi Hilliard 083 288 5117
  39. 39. All photos by Lothar Böttcher except : Kalos - Rupert de Beer Crawling - Retief van Wyk Crated (Undescribed) - Carla Crafford© Lothar Böttcher - 2018