“It’s a strange admission but I have always been in awe of glass. The ordinariness of a plain sheet of glass is to my sight quite miraculous and beautiful. Glass, so very commonplace, when considered is stuff of great elegance, an almost elusive presence and tragic and dangerous in its demise. …….There is the constant threat of breakage, loss and laceration. Irreparable, tattle tale fingerprints, dust reflective, glare obscuring – all inform how I can manipulate and apply the composition within the controlled environment of the white box.” Ian Wells, 2013
Ian Wells presents sculptural drawings in his most recent exhibition ‘Standard Glass’ at Five Walls Projects in Footscray. The works are an extension of the artists’ reductive paintings through a playful exploration in a resistant medium. The use of glass (and acrylic) as the drawing medium is placed into white boxes suggesting the gallery context. Drawings are developed through 3D lines that respond to the angle of light. The simplicity of laying one sheet of glass over another defines each new field of such slight presence.
The works use both white and transparency; colour is reflected. Pale shadows are created, with linear variation controlled by the edge and the interplay of light. These sculptural compositions rely on tenuous interplays and intersections of lines and flat forms. The shadows that mimic and reflect the physical structure of the glass planes and edges become new compositional elements – repetition of shapes and distorted new shapes are applied in these 3D drawings that reward the attentive gaze.
The process has informed the final exhibit through both the vulnerability and the amplification that the media allows. Respecting and responding to the medium has been important as the glass will betray and delight as each element is created.
Edges are never perfect, tiny chips give the shadow line it’s life like the innate variation that is within a drawn line. The elements have been created, reviewed, applied and rejected as we see the forms and then their amplification in shadow and reflected light. Constraining and not overloading the composition has meant that the works retain the simplicity of Wells’ previous works whilst the changing nature of light in the works creates an extension of the original palette. The viewer is invited to explore the beauty of the commonplace through these works.
Video interview thanks to Chantal Wynter | © Wynter Projects, 2013