The exhibition titled “Modern Traditions” will show over 20 new art works, impressive in scale and skill. Inspired by the traditional glass blowing techniques and cutting decoration pioneered at the Webb Corbett and Stuart factories once a seemingly unstoppable West Midlands industry.
Graeme’s work celebrates glass, as a versatile material often thought of as purely functional, but Graeme’s skill with the material bridges that divide between traditional use and contemporary art highlighting the sculptural element of glass as an art medium.
Graeme Hawes has been a practicing artist for over 30 years receiving his training at the Royal College of Art. He has exhibited extensively across the UK, including shows at Vessel Gallery, Contemporary Applied Arts, Cecilia Colman Gallery, Somerset House, Saatchi Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery. His practice combines traditional handmade techniques with contemporary themes and approaches. Graeme’s interest in exploring colour theory and the use of glass within sculptural forms sees him experimenting with how materials can be used and developed aesthetically. He also explores the relationship between light and glass, looking at how faceted glass reflects, refracts, absorbs and projects.
This exhibition, which has been supported by Arts Council England, has allowed Graeme to really expand his art practice and collaborate with fellow master craftsmen. Working with Glass blower James Devereux, Graeme was able to create much larger pieces than in his usual practice. Alongside Richard Lambing and his staff at Redhouse Glass Crafts, Graeme was assisted by Nick Gritton, who was able to share his extensive expertise in glass cutting
techniques and patterns. The Stourbridge Glass blowing studios and Ian Bamforth have also provided support throughout the project. Assisting Graeme with facilities and manpower in creating his latest series of art works.
Modern Traditions will celebrate the skills and traditions of the English glass industry by incorporating these traditions into a contemporary context. Graeme explains, “With this installation, I’ve taken a conceptual approach using irregular form and colour mixed with long-established cutting methods to make contemporary work that embodies the heritage of glass making. The pieces have strong visual impact as well as layered concepts, that encapsulate the history of the English glass industry and how its impact is still relevant today.
Graeme continues “I also want the work to challenge the traditional ‘craft’ label for glass that - in my view - has made it seem common place and has sometimes relegated the material to mere functionality or ornamental. I want to highlight the materials evolution into a contemporary art medium, as I feel these outdated descriptions do not do the material justice or credit the immense skill of the artists involved in its creation.
Modern Traditions opens to the public 9th June and runs until the end of the month at Glasshouse Heritage Centre, The Glasshouse, Wollaston Road, Amblecote, Stourbridge, DY8 4HF. Entry is free.
For more information about Graeme and his work please visit www.grhawesglass.co.uk