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Wed 22 Feb 2012, 10:30am–4:30pm
Thu 23 Feb 2012, 10:30am–4:30pm
Fri 24 Feb 2012, 10:30am–4:30pm
Sat 25 Feb 2012, 10:30am–4:30pm
Sun 26 Feb 2012, 10:30am–4:30pm

Where: Sarjeant Gallery, 38 Taupō Quay, whanganui, Whanganui, Manawatu / Whanganui

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Matthew Tonks

10 December, 2011 – 26 February, 2012

Fancy Fools Flight is a new body of work by glass artists Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams, who since 2004 have worked collaboratively under the ‘Crystal Chain Gang’ banner. Together the pair have pushed the boundaries of the medium, utilising cast glass to create innovative work that traverses the boundaries of art, craft, design and industry.

For this body of work, the form of the bottle was their starting point. From being overlooked utilitarian functional objects, such as cut-glass decanters that reside on many household sideboards, they have amplified the form and turned up the fancy factor big time. Each of the bottles have stoppers which feature characters drawn from a wide variety of sources and as the pair state “the message is not in the bottle but it is the bottle itself....our intention is to stir memory and re-contextualise the bottle to try and engage the viewer in new and unexpected ways”. The cast of characters is certainly eclectic, and have been sourced from a huge image-bank, both real and imagined, featuring the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, James Cook and a variety of New Zealand birds. Dennison and Williams draw inspiration from a wide range of areas, including the history of glass-making abroad, from which they cite René Lalique and the elaborate glass furnishings created for Eastern Palaces during the nineteenth century as influences. Closer to home, New Zealand colonial history and objects and imagery sourced from second-hand shops all collide together.

Producing work in cast glass is an extremely labour intensive and time consuming process and working collaboratively is essential for the production of such highly detailed objects. As well as Dennison and Williams working fulltime on this body of work, they have also had a dedicated crew of between two and three studio assistants who have been vital in bringing the work to fruition. These objects have certainly been born of a gang and collectively the finished works form an unlikely crew all of their own.

The exhibition also features an impressive chandelier, fashioned from cast glass birds wings and feet. In 2012, the exhibition will tour to four other venues and in January the Sarjeant Gallery will publish a catalogue that will document the exhibition. We would like to thank Creative New Zealand who provided the Crystal Chain Gang with a grant to produce the work and also additional funding for the gallery to bring the publish a catalogue.

Greg Donson
Curator & Public Programmes Manager