Hidden Gestures | Cathryn Shilling Solo Show | 10 Years in Glass
31st May 2019
Exhibition dates 4th June - 9th July 2019
Vessel Gallery presents Hidden Gestures, celebrating 10 years since the beginning of Cathryn Shilling’s professional practice & studio. The first solo exhibition of this internationally renowned and highly revered glass artist, who lives & works in London.
After graduating in Graphic Design from the Central School of Art and Design in London, Shilling worked as a Designer until her family’s move to the USA in 2001 prompted her to pursue a new and daring creative direction. Having studied the art & craft of Stained Glass in Connecticut, she returned to London in 2004 and began studying and working with kiln formed glass, as well as becoming a student of blown glass at Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing Studio. In 2009 She set up her own studio in London from where she has gone on to create an impressive & highly varied body of work.
Shilling experiments with colour & technique to produce beautiful one off sculptures and her innovative pieces push the glass beyond the viewer’s usual comfort zones. Employing Venetian cane techniques, diaphanous glass rods appear to be woven together like fabric, mimicking the flexibility and movement of cloth, a technique which has very much become Shilling’s trademark. The apparent frailty of the glass is balanced by the strong dynamic forms and when viewed with differing levels of light, the often subtle but vast spectrum of hues of each complex piece are revealed.
Taking inspiration from the natural world, Shilling's colour palette and choice of forms are very much informed by the various natural states of water; from icebergs to waterfalls and whirlpools. By contrast, a long standing fascination for Shilling is Kinesics or the study of Body Language, by which humans subconsciously transmit and receive non-verbal communication. These physical expressions may reveal our true feelings by signalling the difference between what we say and what we really mean.
In her most recent and ambitious body of work Cloaked, Shilling combines many of her ideas. Statuesque blown figures are enrobed in the artist’s signature glass, exploring our desire to cover the human form. What does the clothing convey about each individual? Their mood, their emotional state? Not only serving as protection, our clothing can broadcast, often with false judgment, our position and identity in society. It seems therefore only fitting, that these are named after mythical Greek figures, the tragic story for each still very much relevant today.
Shilling’s work is shown and represented in collections globally and in 2009 she was the winner of the V&A’s ‘Inspired By’ award for glass. She was listed No 4 in the ‘Glassation’ 2015 list of ‘The Most Game Changing Female Glass Artists’ and No 25 in the Graphic Design Hub’s list of ‘The 30 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive Today’.
Artworks from the Exhibition
Further pieces by Cathryn Shilling
Cloaked Collection ‘Gods’, Each unique, 62cm - 71cm H, £3250 each
Washed Up, Unique, 23cm H, 94cm W, 60cm D £6250
Diorama Moonlight, Unique, 8cm H, 44cm ø, £4250
Consonance I, Unique, 50cm H, 36cm W, 15cm D, £3500
All images taken by Ester Segarra