Nick Wirdnam is a highly regarded Australian glass artist whose work covers more traditional forms of glass as well as conceptual glass sculpture. Incorporating a language of recurring symbols and motifs, Nick sets up a dream-like and ambiguous narrative that allows room for open ended interpretation. Nick’s latest body of work has been inspired by superstition and explores the idea that events can be influenced by an object, an act or a saying; “These phenomena are believed to be capable of altering the course of an individual’s life, whether positively or negatively. It is the power of the object which interests me.” The realistic glass forms adopt the surface texture and colour of the object they represent, which is particularly remarkable in the ‘wooden’ keys and wishbones. With a masterful distillation of all the sensuality inherent in glass, Nick creates beautiful coloured, hot sculpted objects that immediately attract and then confound, lyrical groupings that challenge in unexpected ways.
Born in Portsmouth, England, Nick Wirdnam became a foundation member of the studio team at Isle of Wight Glass in 1974, where he stayed for the next nine years, producing award winning decorative functional work and art objects. Moving to Australia in 1983, Nick took up a teaching position at Monash University, Melbourne, where he continued to lecture until 2007. In 1998, Nick was awarded the Pilchuck Scholarship to attend hot-sculpting classes with Italian master, Dino Rosin and, in 2002, he accepted a residency at North Lands Creative Glass Centre in Caithness, Scotland. Nick has been a consistent finalist in prestigious awards such as the Ranamok Glass Prize, Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize and Tom Malone Prize. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Australia and overseas, and is represented in major public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, National Art Glass Collection at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Nijima Glass Art Museum (Japan) and the Shanghai Museum of Glass (China).