United Kingdom born 1963
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: glass, glass: 45% lead crysta: lcast and polished
In making his monumental and sentinel-like cast glass forms, Richard Whiteley draws from the technical traditions of Czech glass to articulate and reflect the Australian urban and industrial landscape.1 His works are often blade-shaped and exploit the saturated colour only available with glass. The subtle greyness of this work evokes the crystalline quality of natural materials such as topaz and rock crystal, prized for centuries for their clarity, and cut and polished to enhance their refractiveness. Its chipped edge, however, also suggests the transformation by indigenous Australians, since European settlement, of found industrial glass fragments into precise and jewel-like spearheads. Its form and exaggerated bevelled cutting suggests a window, and acts as an agent for light, bridging and energising the space between landscape and interior.
1 While a student in 1987, Whiteley worked at the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle with Czech glass artists, Stanislav Libensk´y and Jaroslava Brychtová. For an account of Whiteley’s workshop experiences, see Meredith Hinchliffe, ‘Richard Whiteley’ in Craft Arts International, no.50, 2000, pp.38–4
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra