"Boat Dream Wired Form"
Susan Rankin, "Boat Dream Wired Form," blown glass, steel, steel wire, 2004.
A Valid Beauty, July 2 to August 21, Esplanade Gallery, Medicine Hat
BY: Amy Fung
Known for her intricate glass work depicting flowers and figurative vases, a retrospective of Saskatchewan/Ontario glass artist Susan Rankin at Medicine Hat’s Esplanade Gallery surveys her work over the past 20 years. Cognizant of the history of glass craft, Rankin also pushes its evolution with flamboyant techniques, creating epergnes and foliage. From lilies to tulip heads, Rankin’s craftsmanship combines decorative glass flowers with vessels to create delicate and spectacular glass objects. As elaborately designed epergnes and flower stands were signs of wealth and status in the 19th century, today, transformed into solid worked glass, Rankin plays on the evolving history of the vessel through voluptuous contemporary shapes and styles. The exhibition’s title, A Valid Beauty > responds to the idea of intricate glass work as home adornment. This exhibition takes glass beyond home decor, into representations of environment and landscape, inviting viewers to look at glass in a new light. Rankin has also included selections from her Wired Forms series, where the simple glass form is shrouded in detailed wire work, enclosing and casting shadows on the glass, and manipulating the perspective on enclosed forms.