7 – 24 November 2019
about the exhibition
Canberra based glass artist Ruth Oliphant explores the interrelationships between place, perception and visual memory in her striking architectural glass works. ‘From the ground up’ is Ruth’s tribute to the historic Yarralumla Brickworks. Established in 1913, the brickworks were fundamental to the creation of Canberra, producing the bricks for many early buildings. Production ceased in 1976 and, after being put to a variety of uses, the site is now closed to the public and about to be redeveloped. Ruth skilfully combines hot and cold glass working techniques including carving, fusing and engraving to beautifully capture the now empty spaces within this unique site. As she says, “Every early Canberra building has travelled through this once bustling factory, brick by brick. Cold for 43 years, these kilns hold the echo of every brick made there.” Ruth continues to explore the idea of space within this exhibition paying homage to the profound influence of architecture on the heart and identity of our built environment. In her personal journey, Ruth has been inspired through both her study and glass work by her renowned architect grandfather Kenneth Oliphant. Art critic Peter Haynes wrote of Ruth’s work in her 2015 exhibition, and these observations still stand true for this carefully observed show, “… continue the artist’s interest in the built environment and here particularly with the changing effects of light as we progress through the day. She has elected to capitalise on the psychological impact of the empty room, the space devoid of human presence, pared back to its architectural essentials…”
Ruth Oliphant commenced her studies in architecture before changing to a Bachelor of Arts/Visual, majoring in glass, at the ANU Institute of the Arts in Canberra. She graduated with Honours in 2008 and, in that same year, received the Ranamok Glass Award People’s Choice prize and the Embassy of Spain Award. In 2009, Ruth received the Vicki Torr Memorial Prize and, in 2014, she was awarded an Endeavour Fellowship to undertake residencies at the prestigious Berlin Glas Studio, (Germany) and Bullseye Glass Company (USA). In 2015, she participated in the Artist-in-Schools Program, an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts in partnership with artsACT and the ACT Education and Training Directorate. Ruth’s first solo exhibition was with Beaver Galleries in September 2009 and was part of an award by the gallery to support a new and exciting recent graduate. This will be her fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.