Mel Douglas’ engraved glass vessels and wall panels are beautifully resolved examples of simplicity, exhibiting a distinct clarity and balance between surface and form. The work suggests a controlled stillness and silence, a meditation on the elements of light, space and time. Mel’s recent work draws inspiration from the changes that occur within the landscape with the fading light, the quiet shadows that appear at the last light of day, or the shimmer of dappled light across a body of water. The creation of her work is integral to the reading of each piece, the slow process of construction evident in the finished object. “I aim to concentrate the viewer’s attention on the proportion and linear relationships of the work. Each line is a unique mark influenced by the object’s physical shape and surface; it is a contour, a stroke, an outline. The repetitious and time-consuming method of mark making is not only a meditative process … it describes a singular moment and a certain place.” By contrast, Mel sees the vessel structure that dominates her work as a type of vortex of time and light, invoking notions of providing and consuming.
Mel Douglas has gained a significant reputation in Australia and internationally since graduating with 1st class honours from the ANU Institute of the Arts in 2000, and upon receiving a Thomas Foundation Pilchuck Student Scholarship to study in the USA. In 2002, Mel won the prestigious Ranamok Glass Prize, in 2007, the LinoTagliapietra Prize of Young Glass at the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark and, in 2014, the Tom Malone Prize at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Her work has been exhibited widely in Australia and overseas, and is in collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Parliament House, National Art Glass Collection at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Corning Museum of Glass (USA), Cincinnati Art Museum (USA) and Glasmuseet Ebeltoft (Denmark).