The Ranamok Glass Award, one of Australia and New Zealand’s most prestigious art prizes in any material, has announced that Australian artist Denise Pepper is the 2012 recipient of the $15,000 award for 2012. Pepper was selected from 29 finalists chosen by the foundation for their “excellence and imagination in quality of idea and execution in contemporary practice.” This honor is awarded to glass artists residing in Australia and New Zealand and has been in place since 1994. Pepper’s winning sculpture, Punto in Aria (Stitch in Air), will take pride of place in the Ranamok Winners Collection and in the touring exhibition to six different venues in Australia. The presentation of the award as well as the opening of the exhibition took place Wednesday, August 15th at 6 pm at Canberra Glassworks.The relationship between textiles and glass seems to an area of exploration for a number of artists in recent years. A March 2012 opening at Canberra Glassworks featured the work of Giles Bettison and Jenni Kemarre Martiniello (a fellow Ranamok 2012 Finalist). And more and more glass fashion shows have tested the line between garments and glass art including Carrie Fertig’s upcoming Torcher Chamber Arkestra performance in which a glass gown will be affixed to a living, breathing woman. It is safe to say that translucent drapery and meticulous intricacies are an omnipresent factor in contemporary glass sculpture. Denise Pepper is no exception to the dynamic structure of this trend, and in more ways than one is a likely cause.
While most of us are at least vaguely familiar with terms such as blown glass, kiln formed glass, and cast glass, Pepper’s artistry lies in her implementation of the form, pâte de verre. Literally translated to mean “glass paste” this technique gives her sculpture a detail and delicacy set apart from more traditional glass art. Pâte de verre is a labour intensive cast glass process that involves a paste made of glass particles or powder and its painstaking application into a negative mold. The creation of layers of color and intricate design resembling lace clothing is possible due to the delicate process of applying the paste. “Punto in Aria” is a true testament to her expertise in the medium. In a statement about her winning entry Pepper credits “pâte de verre and frit glass [capture] the decoration and detail found in the intricate weave.”
Co-founder of the Ranamok Prize, Andrew Plummer, noted the high quality of work presented by each of the 30 finalists claiming that there was no way the large number of finalists could be narrowed down for the exhibit. In a prepared statement, he also announced that this is the first time in the 18 years since Ranamok’s inception a West Australian has been awarded with the prize.
“Ranamok Glass Prize 2012″ Canberra Glassworks 11 Wentworth Avenue
KINGSTON ACT 2604 AUSTRALIA Website: www.canberraglassworks.com/exhibitions/current/