Mel Douglas “Defining Space”

Heller Gallery

poster for Mel Douglas “Defining Space”
[Image: "Volume and Capacity" (2020) blown, coldworked and engraved glass, 12 x 55 in. (dimensions variable)]

This event has ended.

2020 has been a year of triumph and challenge for Australian artist Mel Douglas. With great pride in her many accomplishments, we announce Defining Space, her first Heller Gallery solo exhibition.

Throughout her career Douglas has pursued work that has been praised as ‘quiet, but strangely energetic and animated’ and as evidence of ‘her commitment to creative experimentation and evolution with the always challenging medium of glass.’

Douglas’ minimalist work explores the potential, versatility and flexibility of glass as a material for drawing. In her words ‘objects and drawings are often thought of as two separate entities. My pieces explore and interweave the creative possibilities of this liminal space, where the form is not just a support for drawing; but a three-dimensional drawing itself. Using the unique qualities of the material, and the rich potential of mark making on and with glass, I am using line as a way to inform, define and enable three-dimensional space’.

Mel Douglas was awarded her PhD by Australian National University for her practice-led research investigating how studio glass can be understood through the aesthetics of drawing. Taking as her starting point the theories of leading British anthropologist Tim Ingold’s theories on line, as well as the work of Lazlo Maholy-Nagy, Susan Hefuna, Sol LeWitt, and Fred Sandback, in her thesis Douglas establishes six categories for her own investigation and practice of line-making. She titles them mapping, inscribing, rendering, highlighting, transcribing and tracing. The Defining Space exhibition includes examples of five of these categories through objects as subtle and as commanding as the Volume and Capacity triptych (Mapping), Counteraction (Inscribing), Borderline (Highlighting), Overlap (Rendering) and the three glass drawings Third space, Transition and the Fold series suite (all Tracing).

Mel Douglas has worked as an independent studio artist since graduating from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University in 2000, where she has also been a lecturer. Earlier this year (2020), she received her PhD based on research she carried out at the ANU’s Glass Workshop and at Bullseye in Portland, OR. In addition to winning the 2020 Tom Malone Prize, a prestigious award through which a work is acquired each year into the collection of the National Gallery of Western Australia, Douglas has received several major awards including the Ranamok Glass Prize in 2002, the International Young Glass Award in 2007 from Ebeltolft.

In 2019 her work was the inaugural acquisition for the NGA’s Robert and Eugenie Bell Decorative Arts and Design Fund. Douglas’ work is held in the private collections and public institutions internationally, including the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; the Ebeltoft Museum of Glass, Denmark, and National Gallery of Australia, Australia.



from October 01, 2020 to November 14, 2020
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm.


Mel Douglas

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