Originally posted at http://newzealandglass.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/a-glass-mini-road-trip-part-2-whispers.html on 5 November 2013
Recently I had a chance to combine a non-glass related visit to Auckland with seeing several glass exhibitions and activities. Nothing particularly links these things except my participation, but they did provide some acquisitions for my collection. I have divided them up so they don’t make too big a blog – this is the second of what will probably be a series of three.
Living in the North, I don’t get to attend gallery exhibition openings very often. so I was delighted to realise that my being in Auckland would coincide with the opening of the exhibition Whispers at Masterworks Gallery in Ponsonby. The exhibition (on until 17 November) comprises five stunning chandeliers made by ‘The Crystal Chain Gang’ from Masterton, being Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams. Sadly, the ‘Gang’ was not present (I guess it’s a long way from Masterton to Ponsonby), but they certainly had a presence.
Jim and Leanne made their first chandelier in 2006. Because they are so labour intensive, the chandeliers are usually made as ‘bespoke’ items, made for a client on commission. Although by their nature chandeliers are made to be highly visible, they are not often able to be seen publicly, and especially not as a group. Fortunately for us, the current Master of Masterworks Eloise Kitson worked with Jim and Leanne to bring a group of these chandeliers together in an exhibition, five splendid Masterworks. Eloise kindly approved my photographing these so here they are. No photo has all five, but above are four of them.
Jim and Leanne often reference birds and feathers in their glass art, and these chandeliers are very feathery items indeed. But while some of the individual components are whole birds and some are individual feathers, as seen at left, very effective use was also made of elements comprising just the spine of the feather, as in the example at the right. A wonderful video running in the gallery showed how these were ‘mass-produced’ (something of an overstatement for these individually crafted pieces) by the Chain Gang.
This is the fifth chandelier, and is probably my personal favourite, though sadly the architecture of both my house and my budget mean I’m not likely to be able to add this to my collection. But I was delighted to have the opportunity to see this wonderful group of works. Thanks, Jim and Leanne (and Eloise).
Two footnotes. Jim and Leanne have a great website which documents their work, both chandeliers and other amazing creations. It’s well worth exploring at http://www.crystalchaingang.co.nz/.
Secondly, for northerners, the Crystal Chain Gang’s current touring exhibition Fancy Fool’s Flight opens at Piece Gallery, Matakana on 23 November until 16 December. I saw this remarkable show when it was at Objectspace in Auckland. It’s amazing, and I’ll certainly be calling in to have a second look while it is in Matakana.