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Artist of the Month
February 2016

Artist of the Month

Maureen Cahill

Maureen Cahill is a pioneer in the Australian glass movement, having an extensive career spanning many years as a practitioner, educator, mentor, gallery director, and a promoter of contemporay glass. Recently her contributions were recognized when she was awarded an Order of Australia. Her work engages contemporary issues and social commentary through a wide variety of glass techniques. Maureen is represented by Glass Artists’ Gallery in Sydney, Australia.

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

Maureen Cahill

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

My work draws on a wide variety of glass techniques and processes, all of which are merely the expressive vehicle for story telling to critically engage the viewer with contemporary issues of our time. Many of these issues are associated with the impact of globalization and today’s technologies with works often posing questions but not necessarily the answers due to our ever-changing fast pace of life and the fluidity of events around us.

About Maureen Cahill

Maureen Cahill was recently awarded an Order of Australia AM for significant service to the visual arts, as a leading practitioner and promoter of contemporary glass art, and as an educator and mentor. She is the founding head and was a senior lecturer in the Glass Department of Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney from 1977-2003. She is a founding member of Ausglass, the Australian Association of Glass Artists Limited since 1978 and a life member since 2003. Maureen co-founded and served as a board member of The Ranamok Glass Prize from 1994-2015. She also has served as export strategy representative of the Craft Board, Australia Council from 2004-2006; and a board member of Craft Australia from 1997-2000. Maureen is founding director of Glass Artist's Gallery in Glebe (Sydney) since 1982. She has major artworks and installations in both private and public collections in Australia and internationally.

While Cahill is widely known as an educator and for her role in promoting Australian and New Zealand glass art through the Glass Artists’ Gallery, it is timely to draw attention to her work as a practitioner that spans over six decades. Because Maureen's previous works have been predominantly large in scale, in permanent and public installations, they have not been exhibited in overseas fairs or touring glass exhibitions. Her more recent pieces have reflected current social issues. In viewing these works in chronological order, the prophetic nature of the idea is highlighted in relation to significant occurrences that took place at the time or after these works were produced.

When viewing these images it is important to note the size of the works, particularly as one of the main criteria of Cahill's ideas is the spatial relationship between the forms and the overall scale of the installations. Marie Geissler comments on Cahill's work in the article “Social Commentary in Glass” from Craft Arts International Issue 89: “The use of title, text, symbol and explanation is important in all installations, an approach which assists the viewer to more fully appreciate and engage with Cahill’s contemporary interpretations of current social issues... The Power of Greed – the Bubble has Burst (2008) – made one month before the announcement of the Global Financial Crisis – and Dollars and Sense (2012) both engage with issues of money and the financial crisis of 2008.”

'"Farcebook, don't be a twit, handle with care" (2012) is a computer-like form with glass pages. In the foreground is the twitter bird with a scorpion tail and the troll face symbol, which morphs into the grim reaper through the glass pages with the world map showing through on the base. This work represents the dark side of social media if it is misused. 

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

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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.