Stewart Hearn, Kate Maestri, Marlene McKibbin

4 March 16 April 2005

Stewart Hearn, Kate Maestri, Marlene McKibbin

Three makers have been matched for their skill and interest in manipulating light and colour. For all three, the understanding and design of form is key to this manipulation but the scale on which each normally operates could hardly be more divergent. The exciting premise of this 3-way show is that while each artist will establish their own territory in the gallery space they will also communicate across materials and ways of working.

Light and colour are elusive factors. At their most seductive, they play with each other. Both glass and acrylic can play this game unbidden, by serendipity. But deliberately energising and controlling it is the key to the artist-maker's real engagement with their chosen material. Success in this is what lifts the artwork out of the ordinary and into the uplands of the truly heart-stopping and the truly stimulating.

Hearn's blown glass is distinguished by his innate understanding of design and his refined appreciation of colour - complementary skills which, when they come together as successfully as they do in Hearn, prove how essential this combination is for well-balanced, thoughtful glass. Recently, in loosening his tight grip on form and in merging complementary colours, he has changed to a more fluid body of work.

Maestri has an impressive portfolio of public and private architectural commissions to which she brings her personal interest in shape and colour. Sheet glass, flat or undulating, and vibrant yet harmonious stripes are her chief vocabulary. The interplay of light and shadow cast by the work's environment animates it and brings to mind the urban and natural landscapes that are her inspiration.

At first, Marlene McKibbin's jewellery appears the exception here. But design is vital for her too and in dyeing the acrylic herself, the colour is very precisely controlled. Beginning each new collection she establishes a spectrum, introducing new colours sparingly and singly. Movement by the wearer and the consequential changes of light on colour are part of her stock-in-trade.
So here in this show there is light and colour - form and movement - to welcome us as Spring approaches.

Jennifer Hawkins Opie 2005



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