Recently, Keith Grinter spent two days helping international artist, Dane Mitchell, make 'Meteorological Phenomenon' – canes of hot glass pulled out over sand.
Keith runs the Grinter Glass blowing studio in Whangarei and is also a distance learning mentor at The Learning Connexion. He teaches workshops on glass blowing using the shard pick-up technique as well as creating painted and blown work.
Dane Mitchell works in Auckland and Berlin. His work has been included in numerous New Zealand and international group exhibitions, most recently, Stealth Transmission Tower 1, Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Waiheke Island, New Zealand; Smokescreens, Positions Sector, Art Basel Miami Beach (RaebervonStenglin); Let us take the air, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland, New Zealand; All Whatness is Wetness, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, Switzerland Fourfold Threshold, Encounters Sector, Art Basel HK (Hopkinson Mossman & RaebervonStenglin); and Weight of the World, Villa Toronto (with RaebervonStenglin), Toronto, Canada.
His work, Sketches of ‘Meteorological Phenomena', continues an investigation of phenomena at the edges of visibility and knowledge, through the reimagining of naturally-formed objects called ‘fulgurites’.
Dane Mitchell - Sketches of Meteorological Phenomena & Cairalience/Lighting (Three Ozone Notes) Art Basel Hong Kong 2014, Discoveries Sector with ReabervonStenglin, Zurich
From the Latin wprd 'fulgur', meaning thunderbolt, fulgurites are created instantaneously when lightning strikes sand or particular soils to form glass tentacle-like objects. These unexpected forms freeze a temporal moment and give it solid form.
Much of Mitchell’s work is concerned with producing a tension between the seen and the unseen — both through suggested forces and experimental demonstrability. In particular, this work explores a form of ‘plastic invisibility’, investigating territories of transformation between different states of energy-matter and seeking to frame and invoke material and sensory qualities that are marginal, unstable, dynamic and durational.
The choice of material in order to investigate these territories tends to embody this logic — qualities immanent to a material’s nature or being. In Sketches of Meteorological Phenomena, glass: a shape-shifting material, simultaneously ancient and modern, liquid and solid or some alchemical in-between, was used to ‘draw’ glass fulgurites on and in undulating sand, by pouring hot molten glass directly on it.
These glass forms were begun as an attempt to render weather concrete, yet enmasse they became/become many images: of frozen water; root systems pulled from the ground; rain-made-concrete; bodily fluids-made-fruitless.
The display method for these delicate glass forms quotes an exhibition at MoMA in 1934: Machine Art, curated and designed by Philip Johnson, which sought to value the aesthetics of objects created without artistic intention. A large platform lined with light-absorbing midnight-blue felt allows only just enough space for the viewer to walk around it. On this sits the delicate glass forms, laid out in an almost diagrammatic arrangement.
To learn more about Dane Mitchell and his art visit: www.danemitchell.co.nz
Click here to find out more about the tutors and mentors teaching creativity and art at The Learning Connexion and their individual art practices.
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