Latest exhibition all set to light up winter gloom

A collaborative exhibition entitled ‘Iridescence’ opens at Raglan Old School Arts Centre tomorrow to, as show coordinator Susanne Giessen-Prinz puts it, “bring some glow into the darkest time of year”.

Featuring the work of 10 potters along with that of 10 painters or multimedia artists, the exhibition explores the lustrous rainbow-like play of colour caused by the refraction of light waves – such as an oil slick, soap bubbles, fish scales, and opal.

Susanne regularly encourages local creatives to come up with something beyond their usual scope but admits iridescence has been a “very challenging” brief.

It’s all about sparkle and sheen, she says, which is in stark contrast to last year’s exhibition ‘Shades of White’ when artists worked with a reduced palette to represent calm and clarity.

To get the required glimmery effect clay artists like herself have been experimenting for months with new procedures and multiple glazes, Susanne reveals. “We have been firing at five different temperatures. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.” 

Special firings with iridescence to get a gold lustre have also been organised at the clay shed, she says.

She and fellow potter Merren Goodison have both produced birds among their interpretative works. Susanne’s shimmering, gull-like forms depict sea travellers in flight while Merren has worked with the idea of the shield – threaded in gold – as a symbol of protection for our native birds.

Susanne has also produced rock pool-like “observations of nature”, reminiscent of sea anemones.

Meanwhile illustrator Denise Fort has completed a large multimedia artwork built up with layers of acrylic ink and silver spray paint, and painter Hayley Hamilton has created an “off-beat” version of iridescence in acrylics on board.

Sole fabric artist Anita Seddon has created two works of art for the exhibition, both of which were inspired by the everyday Raglan she knows so well. Entitled simply Mt Karioi, one depicts the way the mountain seems to sparkle in certain lights, while the other captures the shimmer on the water Anita observed recently when waiting to cross the one-way bridge. “It was so blimming beautiful,” she enthuses.    

*Iridescence opens at the Old School in Stewart St on Friday June 14 at 6pm and runs through to Sunday June 23. The exhibition can be viewed daily, 10am-4pm.

by Edith Symes

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