Emma Varga


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Glass Sculpture (2-works)

Glass Sculpture / Wall Mounted (2-works)


Emma  Varga

Emma Varga

Emma Varga Description

Sydney artist Emma Varga was first enchanted with glass when studying at the Applied Arts University in Belgrade and then designing and making decorative glass ‘production and one-off ‘ as a freelance artist and designer and working in a glass factory in former Yugoslavia. Varga’s fascination with the potential of glass as a means of artistic expression grew in proportion to the time she spent working with the medium. She was a highly experienced and skilled glass artist when she moved to Australia in 1995. The diverse body of sculptural work that she has since created is a tribute to her passion for working with glass, her extraordinary energy but also a result of mastery of her ‘multiple-layer’ technique of choice: she cuts tiles or strips from special sheets of glass, decorates them with paint of glass powder, stacks in required shapes and fuses in the kiln for up to two weeks. It is only when the works are meticulously ground and polished that they come to life.

Whether using glass tiles, or more recently tiny glass fragments and rods, Varga’s techniques are clearly highly complex and laborious. But she has no fear of complexity and in fact she revels in it. She compares her creative process to a highly focused but remarkably calming game in which she ‘plays’ with hundreds, or at times thousands, of glass elements that are strategically patterned and coloured and then assembled with precision, at times verging on bravura, to achieve the intended internal energy, light flow and pattern. Always transparent, most of Varga’s works are quite geometrical in form and architectonic in internal patterning and ‘construction’ ‘she has an enviable reputation for seeing and thinking in 3D.

When coloured glass was developed in antiquity, it was treasured for its capacity to imitate rare stones. When clear glass was made during the Renaissance, it was compared to natural rock crystal, a type of quartz highly prized by artists and connoisseurs. Nature has continued to inspire glass makers ever since and Varga also acknowledges it as a major source of inspiration ‘ she loves the northern beaches area where she lives and never ceases to be moved by the spectacular ocean and bush panorama offered by the spacious windows of her studio.

For some time, it was the colour red that reigned supreme in Varga’s work inspired by Australian sunsets and bushfires alongside occasional ocean blues, her tribute to the Collaroy lagoon. Her more recent works focus on a palette of fresh greens, pinks and shades of fuchsia inspired by nature’s ‘quiet achievers’: grass, flowering weeds and creepers and other small ‘amassed’ plants with a big impact on how we see ‘everyday’ nature.

Emma Varga is fascinated by the clarity and transparency of glass and the possibilities of freezing within it 3D images inspired by nature. Along with the new directions her work has lately taken, Varga has developed a new technique of fusing and casting glass sheets.

It is her past factory experience and vast repertoire of techniques that allows her to manipulate large slabs of glass, sometimes as many as 100 to 200 sheet of glass piled up and fused to create the 3D imagery she has visualised. Based on 9 years of experimentation, Varga’s multiple layers fusing technique enables her to create and gain control over the 3-dimensional images enclosed within the large transparent glass objects. The process begins with the cutting of thousands of glass elements from clear and coloured glass sheets according to complex 3-D plans. These are then fused together in stages, before they are ground and polished to reveal the finished sculpture with its fine details and veil-like structures floating in the sea of pure clear glass’. The latter extend Varga’s consummate skills acquired from her long experience working with the traditional Venetian, Czech and Scandinavian glass techniques. Thus Varga extends and applies a multiplicity of glass art techniques to achieve her ends: sculptural objects of transformative allure that define – and commemorate – the emotional and geographic milestones of her life.

Her present large geometric forms express a depth of tranquility and repose, towering and pointing vertically, yet reveling in the celebration of colour and razor-sharp patterning.

The very act of encasing monochromatic patterns within clear glass walls is itself an act of protection, of preservation: of memory, of colour and its associations, of acts of violence, of fear, and of love.

Dr Noris Ioannou: excerpt from the article “Red: Emma Varga’s (glass) art & life, Craft Arts International magazine, issue #67, July 2006.

Emma Varga Statement

The technique of "multiple layers fusing" has been gradually developed by Emma Varga during the past 14 years.  It enables her to create and to gain control over three dimensional images inside large transparent glass objects. To make each of these sculptural objects, it is necessary to cut thousands of tiny glass elements from clear and transparent coloured glass sheets and combine them with glass frits and stringers. The sculptural glass objects are made from 20–400 thin transparent glass layers; glass mosaic elements, colored frits and stringers are assembled on each sheet, according to a complicated three-dimensional plan. These are then fused together in stages.

It takes two weeks to fire and slowly cool down large sculptural works, then a further two weeks to grind and polish all of the surfaces to perfection. Only then it is finally possible to see the inside; all the fine details and veil-like structures floating in the sea of clear glass.  The diverse body of sculptural work that she has created is a result of mastery of her complex and laborious "multiple-layer" technique. Her creative process is a highly focused but incredibly calming game in which  she "plays" with thousands of tiny glass elements that are strategically assembled with precision to achieve the intended internal energy, light flow and pattern.

Emma Varga Resumé

Education

1975   BA, Visual & Applied Art, Majors: Glass Design and Ceramic Sculpture, University of Applied Arts, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Awards and Honors

2015   “First Light” artist residency, Norway.

2012   Australia Council Visual Arts Grant for new work based on research on Antarctica.

2009   Winner, Art Alliance Excellence Award, 37th International Invitational Exhibition at Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI.

2006   Australia Council Visual Arts Grant

1991   Participant, 4th Interglass Symposium, Novy Bor, Czechoslovakia.

1990   Annual Award of the Association of Applied Artists, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1988   Participant, 3rd Interglass Symposium Novy Bor, Czechoslovakia.

Select Collections

Arrango Design Foundation, Miami, FL

Australian Art Trust, Melbourne, Australia

Design Center Ishikawa, Japan

Glassgallerie Immenhausen, Germany

Glassmuseum Ebeltoft, Denmark

Interglass Symposium Collection, Czech Republic

Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection at Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA

PowerHouse Museum (Decorative Arts & Design), Sydney, Australia

Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, Serbia

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

National Art Glass Collection, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Toyama Glass Art Museum, Japan

Selected Major Exhibitions

2015   “Shared Inspirations”, Dual Solo Exhibition, Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.  The LA Art Show, Tansey Contemporary.

2014    SOFA Chicago, Kirra Gallery.  “Apocalypse Reversed”, Solo Exhibition, Tansey Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM.   “Ranamok Finalists 2012, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  Art Aspen, Tansey Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM. “Virtual Garden”, Solo Exhibition, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW, Australia.  “Biodiversity, Human Impact on the Environment”, Group Exhibition, Tansey Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM.  Art + Design Art Fare, Tansey Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM.  “My Places of Green”, Solo Exhibition, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia

2013   SOFA Chicago, Kirra Gallery.  The International Exhibition of Glass, Kanazawa, Japan.  “Antarctica- Objects and Installations”, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  “Antarctica- Icebergs”, Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.  Künstlerhaus Wien, WIKAM, Sikabonyi Gallery.  “Prima”, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “Ensemble”, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW, Australia

2012   “SALUTE VIII”, Group Exhibition, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  SOFA Chicago, Kirra Gallery.  “Director’s Choice”, Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.  “Ranamok Finalists 2012”, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  “Spark and Flame, 50 Years of Art”, Chasen Museum, Madison, WI.   “UrbanGlass”, Bonham’s 35 for 35 Auction, New York, NY.

2011   “Segue”, Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.  SOFA Chicago, Kirra Gallery.  “Top Drawer”, Masterworks Gallery, Auckland, NZ.  “Ranamok Finalists 2011”, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  “Fete De Verre”, Chashama Gallery, New York, NY.  “Geometry”, Group Exhibition, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

2010   “Long Reef”, Solo Exhibition, Manly Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia.   “Capturing Light”, Axia Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia.  SOFA Chicago, Kirra Gallery.  “Ranamok Finalists 2010”, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  “Into the Green”, Solo Exhibition, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney Australia.  “Winter”, Group Exhibition, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “From the Garden”, Solo Exhibition, Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.  “Oz- Australian and New Zealand Studio Glass”, Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, CA.

2009   “Cats and Dogs”, Artereal Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “New Works”, Solo Exhibition, Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, FL.  SOFA Chicago, Kirra Gallery.  “Cats and Dogs”, Masterworks Gallery, Auckland, NZ.  “Crafting Landscape, 4 Artists”, Lake McQuarie Art Gallery, Lake McQuarie, NSW, Australia.  “In Paradise”, Local Artists Exhibition, Manly Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “Ranamok Finalists 2009”, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  “New Works”, Imago Gallery, Palm Desert, CA.  SOFA New York, Compendium Gallery.  “37th Annual Glass Invitational Exhibition”, Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI.  “Contemporary Glass”, Reinstallation of Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA.

2008   “Ranamok Finalists 2008”, Canberra Glass Works, Canberra, Australia.  SOFA New York, Compendium Gallery.  “Vibrant”, Solo Exhibition, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

2007   SOFA Chicago, Compendium Gallery.  “One Fine Day”, Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, FL.  “The Story About Red”, JamFactory Gallery, Adelaide, Australia.  “The International Exhibition of Glass- Kanazawa”, Japan.   Art London, Glass Artist’s Gallery.  “Lava Red, Grass Green, Ocean Blue”, Solo Exhibition, Compendium Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand.  “Here They Came”, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW, Australia.   “Contemporary Glass”, Inaugural exhibition of Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA.  “Encore”, Glass Artist’s Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “Masters of Australian Glass”, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

2006   “Objects”, Solo Exhibition, Marjan Lovšin Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia.  “Ranamok Finalists 2006”, School of Art Gallery, Canberra, Australia.  “10 Years in Australia”, Solo Exhibition, Axia Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia.  “Dreamtime Down Under”,  Museum of Applied Art, Retrospective Solo Exhibition, Belgrade, Serbia.

2005   “Import, Export, Global”, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.  “Ranamok Finalists 2005”, Craft ACT Gallery, Canberra, Australia.  “Glass Down Under”, National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA.  “Australian Glass”, Gagger Studio Glass, Hong Kong.  “Australian Glass”, Singapore Art Festival, Singapore.  “Toward the Inner”, Raglan Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “Mind Maps”, Craft Victoria Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.   “1st Triennial of Silicate Arts”, Museion, Kecskemet, Hungary.  “Global Local”, Object Galleries, Sydney, Australia

2004   “Something Different, Australian Glass”, Glass Pyramid Gallery, Budapest, Hungary and Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

2003   “Cast and Kiln Formed Glass”, Axia Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia.

2002   “Mitsukoshi Art Festival”, Tainan, Taipei and Taichung, Taiwan.  “Dialogue”, Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney, Australia.  “Ranamok Glass Prize Finalists”, Sydney, Australia and Washington, DC.

2001   “Australian Glass, The Cutting Edge”, Axia Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia.  “Formal Qualities”, Oject Galleries, Sydney, Australia.  “Glass Art in Australia”, Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

2000   “Fusions”, Axia Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia. “Quadrivium’s Finest”, Sydney, Australia.  “Buy/By Women”, Morgan Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA.

1998   ‘Mapping Identity”, Object Galleries, Customs House, Sydney, Australia.

1995   “Glass in Australia”, Meat Market Craft Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

1994   “Contemporary Glass Art”, Applied Arts Gallery, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1990   “Presentation of the Magic Glasstown Belgrade”, TOKYO.

1989   “Contemporary European Sculpture in Crystal and Glass”, Liege, Belgium.  “15 Years Working in Glass”, Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1987   “Yugoslavia’s Top Designers”, Sebastian Art Gallery, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1985   “Immenhausen”, Glass Exhibition at the International workshop, Germany.  “The October Show Laureates”, Yugoslavia, the National Museum,  Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1984   “Glass that Works”, International Glass Design Exhibition, Miami, FL.

1983   “Vicointer”, International Glass Festival, Valencia, Spain.

1981   “Glasskunst ‘81”, International Exhibition, Kassel, Germany.

1979-82   “New Glass”, World Glass Survey Touring Exhibition Corning, New York,  Washington, Toledo, Paris, London, Tokyo.

1977   “Coburger Glaspries”, European Glass Exhibition, COBURG, Germany.

1975-95   Art Association Spring and Fall Shows, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

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