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Artist of the Month
April 2019

Artist of the Month

Jonathon Westacott

Australian-born Jonathon Westacott draws from a wide range of traditional skills. His current works are clearly identifiable with the Australian landscape, producing highly acclaimed and significant pieces from his surrounds in the Sunshine Coast, North Queensland. He sketches the rich landscapes intrinsic to his environment, then blows the glass as a canvas for the hauntingly beautiful imagery. Westacott is represented by Glass Artists’ Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.

Jonathon Westacott

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

"I have a deep fascination with our relationship to the environment. The iconography in my art represents the shift of focus from myself to the natural world: an observation of the intricate web of life that supports, inspires, and enriches my existence.

For many years I have carried with me a sense of living and walking through a country with a deep historical human presence. I was born in North Eastern Victoria, where Australia’s first peoples had been completely wiped from view; yet the memory of their existence is just beneath the surface. I look for this echo in old trees and places of natural beauty and use this as a lens to inform my artwork.

My favourite pastime is seeking out wild and ‘untouched’ places. This enables me to witness a natural order, where the spirit of the country is strong. These places are becoming increasingly difficult to find, and I recognise them as wonderful inspirations for my artwork.  Removing the human element from my drawings places the viewer into a ‘surreal,’ timeless landscape, where the observer creates the story.

My recent work featuring ring trees evoke a time when the first peoples of Australia marked trade routes, boundaries, or ceremonial places, by twisting or crossing branches of small trees. Over time these fused into rings and loops. Most of these traditional markers have been destroyed through forest clearing and fires. These living icons are rare, as the trees need to be at least 150 years old to pre-date European invasion.

Hot glass is a beautiful medium that demands utmost patience and focus to master its properties. Balance and elegance in the forms I make are a prerequisite to carry the designs, and 30 years working with the medium has been about honing the skills to do this. Inspired by Art Nouveau glass, I have been fascinated by the idea of creating 3-dimensional objects as a canvas for my designs. Within this idea is the possibility of playing with the way light is transmitted and reflected through the surface, and exploring multiple layers of colour to build depth.

About Jonathon Westacott

Jonathon Westacott graduated from Charles Sturt University in regional New South Wales, Australia, with a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in ceramics and hot glass. Under the tuition of Alex Mitrovik and Denis O’Connor, the spark was ignited and Westacott’s glass journey began.

In 1987 he relocated to Adelaide, South Australia, pursuing a career in hot glass. Here he completed a traineeship at The Jam Factory Art and Craft Centre under Director Peter Tysoe and Workshop Manager Tom Persson.

The Jam Factory studio was a revelation to Westacott.  The glass world opened, and he threw himself into the training.  Along with learning the skills and techniques of glassblowing; he studied studio machinery design and acquired engineering skills necessary to build furnaces and maintain his own equipment. Adelaide’s proximity to the Flinders and Gammon Ranges provided opportunity to adventure into these stunningly beautiful landscapes, reinforcing Westacott’s connection to the country and fueling his creative passions.

In 1993 seeking diverse landscapes, Westacott moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and worked alongside Chris Pantano. By 2004 he had established the Sunshine Coast Hot Glass Studio in partnership, providing a professional workspace used by many local, interstate and international glass artists.

Since 2009, Westacott’s studio has been located at his home in Dulong on the Hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. It is here that he revived his solo practice. Set among subtropical rainforests he works in an environment that nurtures his creativity. An essential element of Westacott’s work is regular expeditions to wilderness areas for inspiration. It is these journeys that bring to the studio an intense creative energy and the passion to share his vision.

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Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Glass Artists' Gallery, Sydney, Australia, for providing the Artist of the Month.

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Our Mission

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.