Ann Robinson ONZM

New Zealand b. 1944

Ann Robinson was born in Auckland and completed a Diploma in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 1980. Her innovative glass creations have received major national and international acclaim, with numerous awards including an American Glass Society’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006, Arts Laureate by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand in 2004. Robinson was also the recipient of the 2002 John Britten Award for Contribution to Design, and awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001.

Following the completion of her diploma, Robinson joined the established studio of Sunbeam Glass Works and became a partner with two others. It was during this period that Robinson developed a method of casting glass, the lost-wax casting process, which led to her receiving many awards such as the Phillips Glass Award in 1984 and 1986, and the Winstone Biennale Award for Craft in 1987.

The lost-wax glass casting process (or cire perue) is a modified version of bronze casting. A wax blank is formed by pouring molten wax into a plaster base mould. This wax blank is then modified and reinvested in a second mould, made of refractory materials – that is material which can withstand a long period in the kiln at high temperatures. After the wax is burnt out, the cavity is filled with molten glass. The glass-filled mould is then slowly cooled to room temperature. Larger pieces can require up to three weeks cooling and one week finishing.

The colours and shapes of the flora and fauna of the outdoors influence Robinson’s bold cast glass pieces, with native New Zealand plants and trees constantly providing inspiration to the artist. The ever-changing weather patterns and the sharp clear quality of New Zealand’s light creates an understanding and perception of colour, which she transforms in her vessels.

The way in which each of Robinson’s sculptures absorbs and emits light transforms these inanimate objects into living things, reflecting the play of light and shadow in the natural world. Her mixture of materials, which includes up to 45% lead crystal, contributes to the work’s luminousity and intensity of colour.

Robinson has had several solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In 1998 her achievements were honoured by a major survey exhibition of her works, initiated by the Dowse Museum in Wellington. She was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001.

Robinson’s works are held in both private and public collections, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria, Stradtmuseum, Auckland Museum, Te Papa and the Christchurch Art Gallery.



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