Doctor of Creative Arts
School of Creative Arts
King, Gerry, Glass sculpture: reflections on cultural colonisation, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, School of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 1993. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/951
This document outlines the deliberations of the author while conceiving and producing a body of sculpture known collectively as The Cicatrix Series. The works are grouped into four main categories, ie The Cicatrix Series (1990), The Cicatrix Shadows (1991), The Cicatrix Shields (1992-), and individually named pieces (1991-1992).
The works address the topic of cultural colonisation and make particular reference to Australia. Some background of the exhibition career of the author is examined where contribution to The Cicatrix Series can be elucidated. The process by which the author refines the notions and images of selected works is detailed and general reference is made to those works most clearly forming a group.
Explanation of cultural colonisation is integrated with analysis of the works and discourse upon the author's intended meaning is compared with viewer response. The works exhibited present an idiosyncratic investigation of the potential of glass as a medium of communicative sculpture, explicit in subject orientation while elusive of definitive interpretation. They are an original and unique contribution to contemporary studio glass sculpture.
Cultural colonisation is addressed in these works as a layering of image and symbol upon an imposing but eroding foundation. This foundation is variously depicted as being geographical, architectural or an artefact. The vision of the weathering of imperialism stems from the author's experience in the third world countries of Asia and South America. The images employed refer to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian culture and focus upon cultural colonisation in this country. The works seek not to illustrate the thoughts, theories, doctrines or interpretations held by others, no matter how well founded they may be, but are rather the author's contribution to the discourse. While using images clearly derived from Aboriginal sources, but not employing actual traditional motifs, these sculptures attest to the (often) unrecognised existence of cultural colonisation in Australia. By intent they are in direct contrast with that appropriation of Aboriginal motifs which contributes to colonisation. Hence, they seek to signal a new perspective of cross-cultural appropriation.
The scale of the works is unusual and the extent of the use of realism employed is infrequent in contemporary Western sculpture. In that regard the works are arguably beyond the mainstream of current sculpture and current studio glass sculpture. The Cicatrix Series is examined by the author/artist in the context of historical location.
Documentation of solo and group exhibitions of The Cicatrix Series is provided along with tabulation of the works, those held in public and private collections, and references in books, journals and media reports.