Ian Mowbray

Family souvenirs and other dark things


Saturday 1 September  until Friday 12 October 2018

Opening Saturday 1 September 2018 11am - 4pm

Bilk Gallery is thrilled to be presenting a solo exhibition of contemporary glass by Ian Mowbray. 

Ian is well known for being refreshingly provocative and his erotic exploration of the lustier thematic of death and sex. This exhibition showcases collections from his practice spanning a period of over 30 years as well as a large body of recent work titled  'My Family Souvenirs'.  Ian Mowbray was one of the first studio glass Artists in Australia and this exhibition captures his wicked sense of humour and darkness and his exploration of the glass material and the breadth of his technical skills.

​The Family Souvenirs are my family’s collection of their body parts. 'Instead of a family photo album or keepsakes, we have decided to keep everything that has been discarded from operations, misadventure and autopsies, also bottling the cause of ones death, such as “My Fathers Aorta”.’ They have been meticulously placed in specimen jars so they can be studied by the whole family. The idea is that this collection has been running over a century hence so many foreskins in the “Foreskins” jar. Each individual family member contributes to the collection.  "I like to play with things like sex and death. They are all sort of taboo subjects and a big taboo subject was always family. So the family souvenirs are basically a series of specimen jars with carved body parts in them. Keeping all the pieces that have been cut off the body for you families history. Instead of the photo album.”

Also exhibited will be a collection of Ian's "block" objects using the technique he pioneered and developed "plunge-casting".  As well as a collection of the dark, rude, repelling and humorous Snow Domes ,   with titles such as ‘So hard to keep hold of a good woman’ and ‘Yes this is all my baggage’ which Ian says relates to lovers baggage ‘After complaining about lovers’ baggage I decided I should pile up mine to see if there is much. Apart from some skeletons and very rotten cases, I was happy with the smallish amount. I suspect this isn’t the last’. There are also a number of Ian’s beautiful ‘Spine’ pieces, which are hand  carved and fit together meticulously like a 3 dimensional puzzle. 

With all of Ian's pieces he painstakingly  executes each piece by hand carving the glass to form figures or parts of the body, a process which takes considerable time.  Ian is one of the first Studio Glass Artists in Australia and paved a pathway many have been drawn to in their practice and career.

Ian Mowbray - My Family Souvenirs 

Ian Mowbray - Snow domes

Ian Mowbray - Block Cubes

The Block Cubes by Ian Mowbray each use a method which he pioneered, Ian refers to this as "Plunge Casting".  Plunge Casting involves plunging very hot cast glass into extremely hot glass cubes. The result is always unpredictable and the final object is slowly revealed as Ian meticulously cut and polishes each one to a perfect polish.  For the series "Block 1-4" Ian has demonstrated the variety of responses of how the material behaves as spheres are plunged into cubes, using materials such as layering the sphere in gold leaf (Block #1) resulting in the gold leaf enveloping the black glass sphere within a clear glass cube. Block #2 is a glass sphere plunged into a layer of silver leaf within a clear glass cube. Block #3 is a yellow glass sphere that has been plunged into a blue glass cube, then the blue cube is plunged onto a clear glass cube.  Each piece capturing a different response and final form internally as it is plunged into glass matter.  

Ian Mowbray - Spines