Reflections on Glass: Exploration of light and memories

Before the world stood still, there was a time when people could travel freely and explore new countries and environments previously unknown to them. These adventures would form experiences to take back to one's home country, richer in soul and spirit, and perhaps a little changed in having encountered a different culture. 

Early in 2020, was such a time for Rebecca Newnham, artist and sculptor. Her adventure was a trip to Tokyo and Auckland, which resulted in a group of works that reflect the experiences of these places culminating in The Oceania series. This is a group of Vermeer works that reflect a trip to Tokyo and to Auckland early in 2020. Most have a relationship to water – either a beach, a lake, or the ocean – and to the natural and spiritual world. As Covid-19 was taking hold and the virus spread, they served to emphasise the value of the fiercely protected, unspoilt natural beauty of New Zealand and the restraint, focus and social consciousness of Japanese society at a time when the whole world is looking closely at itself and revaluating.

In the gallery we have 3 works from the Vermeer series, which is inspired by visits to Buddhist temples and Japanese gardens. Accompanying these curved relief panels, are The Epiphany series. These are enamelled glass sketches, edged with copper. The sketches are colourful abstracts inspired by aspects of an experience. 

The Epiphany series reuses glass from shed windows or a greenhouse in which all manner of recollections of experience are reflected on the surface of the glass. The works on show in the gallery are all from a family garden shed, previously a summer house, in the New Forest. The colour sketches are about stories Rebecca was told by the family. Tales of swarming bees and blackbirds nests. These sketches are like memories or dreams once reflected in the glass of the windows, a moment captured or reimagined. There are also sketches of plants which reflects Rebecca's passion  for gardens and gardening.

Ruth Dresman, is an artist of incredible skill at creating designs on glass vessels that bring the natural world to life. Images of swallows soaring to the skies, mackerels swarming, birds feeding on berries and deer standing to attention in a forest, are captivatingly poetic. 

Ruth’s beautifully subtle, fluid designs are largely drawn from nature and worked by hand as she painstakingly sandblasts fine layers of glass to create effects of colour and texture that often suggest worlds within worlds – the images flow past each other as the piece is observed. On show in the gallery are 7 new works recently created.

Both Rebecca Newnham and Ruth Dresman's work create a harmonious synergy of reflections on glass.