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Ceramic artist Magdelene Odundo exhibits new work at Sunderland Glass Centre

Magdelene Odundo OBE has been spending time at Sunderland's National Glass Centre which will host her latest exhibition in the Autumn

Magdalene Odundo with some of the units from her installation at National Glass Centre, Sunderland
Magdalene Odundo with some of the units from her installation at National Glass Centre, Sunderland

A new exhibition, inspired by a pair of Ancient Egyptian earrings, will see 1,000 individual glass pieces installed in National Glass Centre, Sunderland.

Magdalene Odundo OBE, one of the UK’s most successful ceramic artists, has been exploring the potential of working in glass in the North East.

National Glass Centre welcomed Magdalene as she developed her practice and a new body of work, consisting of 1,000 individually hand blown forms, each approximately 38cm in length and 10cm in diameter, which will be displayed from October.

Although a departure from what the Kenyan-born artist is known and celebrated for, this new work in glass maintains the style, character and quality that has led institutions from the British Museum to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York, to collect her work, while offering Magdalene the chance to progress in a pioneering new direction.

Glass form being finished by Magdalene Odundo OBE
Glass form being finished by Magdalene Odundo OBE
 

The installation has been developed in partnership with James Maskrey, one of Britain’s leading artists working in hot glass.
For this new work Magdalene, who is fascinated with body adornment and the human form, cites 5,000-year-old Ancient Egyptian glass ear studs from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London’s collection as her main inspiration.

The sweeping form of the installation references the River Nile and the role it plays in connecting indigenous cultures in the Nile Basin with Ancient Egypt. 

The individual forms also reflect the artist’s fascination with the black and white abstract work by Bridget Riley and the graphics within the Op Art movement.

Colin Davison One of the glass forms being created for the exhibition by Magdalene Odundo
One of the glass forms being created for the exhibition by Magdalene Odundo
 

Of her new work, Magdalene says: “My ceramics have always been vehicles for containment; they have been personal statements about what it is to be human.

“Glass as a material is more illusive. Like a mirage it creates an optical illusion. It is simultaneously transparent and solid, fragile
and strong. Like water, it is neither here nor there.”

National Glass Centre is working with production partners to produce the installation, which will be exhibited in the main gallery and will demonstrate a great ceramic artist’s ability to translate her ideas into another medium.

In addition to this stunning new installation National Glass Centre will also be showing a reinterpretation of Metamorphosis and Transformation, an earlier work in glass by Magdalene made in Tacoma, Washington State, USA.

  • An exhibition of new work in glass at National Glass Centre, will run from October 11 to mid-January, 2015. For more information, call 0191 515 5555 or visit www.nationalglasscentre.com

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