Yallourn, Victoria, Australia born 1956
Flat form Teal
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: glass, vases, glass: blown, with gold, silver and copper foil
Brian Hirst’s vessels are often made with reference to the degraded iridescent surfaces that characterise classical Roman glass. This work is a develop-ment of this theme and reflects a parallel interest in the subtleties of Japanese makie lacquer, through the fleeting appearance of flecked gold leaf in the vase’s inner surface, a form of decoration also seen in contemporary Japanese glass.1 Hirst’s articulation of gold and silver lustre surfaces and his use of the blue-green colour teal, in almost opaque glass, also alludes to the historical use of glass in jewellery, where its brilliance and fluidity were used to suggest the arcane and the exotic. Through his mastery of some of these more demanding techniques of glass, Hirst evokes its historical richness to underscore a contemporary language of form and colour.
1 Makie (sprinkled picture) is a Japanese lacquer decorating technique in which gold or other metallic powders are dusted onto the surface of wet lacquer
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002