The Outer Edge Project: 'Catch' by Isla Osborne

The Outer Edge Project: 'Catch'

Isla Osborne

17 July to 12 August 2012


 “Lampworking is an ancient and magical process, a chemistry that borders on alchemy and as an artist I find its allure irresistible.”– Isla Osborne

Isla Osborne is an Auckland-based artist who engages with the traditional lamp-working process while exploring its potential for contemporary application. 

Catch is a visual exploration of viral infections and how they spread.  Part of an ongoing body of work, in Catch the virus acts as a metaphor for the spread of ideas through communities. There is an underlying concern of the appreciation of truth and wisdom and an investigation of how these can fit into today’s object-driven world.

Osborne reveals her ongoing interest in the microscopic, playing with scale to allow examination of this invisible world.  The immediate transformation of glass from liquid to solid allows the artist to experiment with the media’s chemical and physical properties, creating frozen forms which retain the illusion of movement.  Thus Catch depicts a moment in time when virus particles are inertly suspended in the air. 

A reflectionof how perceived threats are represented to the public, Catch attempts to dissociate object from effect; viruses are not independently living organisms with a capacity for evil, and in fact viewed through an electron microscope, they are uniquely beautiful.  The beauty of Osborne’s delicate hand-made forms is at odds with the contagion they signify. 

Osborne’s process involves continued experimentation and development of lampworking, an ancient technique used to melt glass and make finely crafted beads. In a tangible link to Osborne’s work as a contemporary jeweller, each virus is an intricately rendered glass bead. The beads are then strung together to create the artwork. Removed from their accepted context, the bead-viruses adorn the air, jewels waiting to be worn.

Isla Osborne's Catch is viewable from The Outer Edge window in the Habitat Courtyard next to Sanderson Contemporary Art

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