Bethany Wheeler: upcoming artist-in-residence

Bethany Wheeler in her Melbourne studio, 2016

Bethany Wheeler is an artist based in Melbourne. She trained as a glassmaker and her work now ranges from studio glass to found object assemblage sculpture and installation, jewellery and design. Bethany’s work embraces concepts of memory, place and what lies at the end of our perceptions of interior and exterior space. She is particularly drawn to working with glass as it reflects the vitreous environments we live in - glass is a material that surrounds us in almost every aspect of our lives. Glass allows light to fill space, letting objects visually materialize and dematerialize simultaneously whilst describing interior and exterior space. It is charged with fascinating material paradoxes, fragility and solidity; liquid and solid; transparent, translucent and opaque – it is a hybrid that illustrates notions of the human condition and ways of seeing. 

Bethany Wheeler, Flotsam, Jetsam and Compassion, 2016, lost wax cast glass, flame worked glass, 
fused glass, found glass, fishing floats, 58x55x19cm

Bethany was awarded a Master of Fine Art by research from Monash University in 2003 and has since been exhibiting her work both nationally and internationally. In 2013 she established 1000 Degrees Glass Studios, a communal kiln forming and cold working glass studio in Melbourne where she currently works. Last year she was a finalist in The Incinerator Art Award - Art for Social Change; Kirra Illuminating Glass Award and Noosa Art Prize. In 2015 Bethany held a substantial solo exhibition, Imprint, Place & Memory at Bayside Art and Cultural Centre Gallery, Brighton, Vic. In 2014 Bethany received The Lino Tagliapietra Grant to attend a Silvia Levenson workshop at Pilchuck Glass School, in USA. Bethany’s work can be found in private and public collections including the National Glass Art Collection of Australia. 

Bethany Wheeler, Beyond Measure, 2016, slumped glass, found pressure gauges, dried collected seaweeds, 
54x110x10cm, 46x50x8cm, 15x30x5cm

At Gunyah I'm planning to explore notions of memory and mapping of place through new experimental works in glass, with combinations of drawing, engraving and photography, working  with locally foraged artefacts and specimens such as insects, flora, ochre, sap, salt, charcoal and clay. Working on-site in the landscape I'll use a glass engraver to sketch line drawings onto sheets of clear glass; find local sands and rocks to abrade/mark into the surface the glass, and collect botanical specimens to sandwich between layers. The resulting works will be transparent blocks of layers of glass that reveal strata’s of sight specific observations of place and history. I'm looking forward to immersing myself in such a beautiful place and to be given the time to explore, discover and record all of its layers of history through new works that re-contextualises a geographical, historical and manifested sense of place.

Bethany Wheeler, What slips through the net, 2016, fused glass, glass beads, bamboo, 
metal and Cephalopod ink, 150x56x55cm

You can see more of Bethany's work on her website

Bethany Wheeler in her Melbourne studio, 2016