Milford Galleries Dunedin | 17 July – 11 August 2010
Claudia Borella is an internationally significant glass artist and a unique figure in the contemporary art glass movement in New Zealand. She immigrated to New Zealand in 2001 with a visual style already formed and with a methodology previously unknown here.
Her work uses techniques such as fusing via layering, surface carving and kiln forming. Her visual language incorporates substantial dialogues about the role of pattern and the optical effects of colour. The formal rigor of her work and the balancing of elements challenge our senses and perceptions.
A minimalist aesthetic underpins Borella’s concerns, yet there is a tense dynamic at work in which the optical creation of spatial relationship is contrasted with the formalism of pattern. This abstract (graphic) language uses repetition and rhythm, references carving techniques and enters the world of sculptural concern through the three-dimensional qualities of fusing and kiln forming techniques.
Borella is acutely aware of the cultural content of form, sign and symbol and the language of pattern. The remarkable plurality of the abstract Italian gondola forms (Transference 11, Transference 19, Transference 20) inspired by Maori carving techniques adopts design language used in many cultures, and in this manner comes to have a much broader, international, context too.
In other major works such as Waitakere Sunset 1, Waitakere Horizon, Waitakere Evening, and Shift, Borella presents a landscape as an event, rather than as an appearance. Texture is used to modulate the density of colour and individual colours change identity through juxtaposition. Light (moon and sun) is symbolised as a concentric relief carving and the scale of the interlocking, dynamic, composition is varied as Borella treats colour and form as ultimate identities. In this way, she liberates her work from all descriptive or functional roles.
Shift II uses the geometry of pattern and the translucency of glass to take the canoe form into completely new territory. The ambiguity of the form is manipulated further by the implication of blue referencing the sea and the portrayal of the dynamics of movement.