Life, walls and houses, by Wendy Johnson
It’s hard to imagine that the Aussie invention, The Black Box, used to record every nanosecond of an aircraft’s flight, has inspired beautiful pieces of art created out of glass. Canberra artist Judi Elliott, has been inspired by this flight data recorder. Her new solo exhibition—Black Box: Life, walls and houses—showcases how this piece of complex technology can be seen as a metaphor for life. Black Box: Life, walls and houses, on now at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre, is a ‘must-see’ exhibition.
Judi is a distinguished and highly acclaimed glass artist. She’s ‘one of ours’, working quietly out of her studio in the suburbs of Canberra. Judi was the very first glass graduate from the School of Art (now Australian National University) Glass Workshop. That was in 1984 and the artist has been practicing for more than three decades, with her work included in prestigious Australian and international collections.
Black Box: Life, walls and houses includes colourful, three-dimensional houses Judi has created of glass. For Judi, the houses reflect ‘life’ and the phases we all experience as we grow up, love, get educated, work, gain experience and move.
Judi was inspired to create this themed exhibition after pondering what The Black Box is, what it does, and how it works. Hailed by many as one of Australia’s top 10 inventions, the box records from take-off to landing. It begins its cycle again on the next journey. For Judi, this is very much akin to the cycle of human life. Judi is also inspired by our relationship with the built environment, especially the work of architects. Her colour palette is vibrant and The Black Box is represented in this exhibition by black dots appearing in the glass.
Judi’s creative process is fascinating. She produces full-scale drawings and then cuts individual pieces of glass to size from each one. Judi next uses her signature, technical glass style to cast, cut, fuse and assemble each house. Judi is a 2016 Hindmarsh Prize finalist and has been an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT since 1999. She’s exhibited her work in Australia and overseas since the 1980s.
“Judi is a trail blazer who was in the first intake into the glass workshop established by internationally renowned glass artist Klaus Moje at what is now the ANU School of Art,” says Rachael Coghlan, Chief Executive Officer of Craft ACT. “Under Klaus, she learned kiln-formed glass techniques, which she’s been working with and adapting since.”
This exhibition was curated by Mel George, Curator Craft ACT, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the craft and design sector and more than a decade in curating exhibitions and mentoring emerging artists and practitioners. Mel is also an award-winning glass artist.
Also on now at Craft ACT is Embracing Innovation Volume 6, an annual curated showcase which this year captures innovation in the creative arts. It showcases international, national and local designers. Lostfourwords will write about this exhibition soon, so stay tuned.
Both Black Box: Life, walls and houses and Embracing Innovation Volume 6 run until 27 August and are free to the public. Visit Craft ACT’s brand new website, which includes opening hours.