Currently on view at von Bartha gallery in Basel, Switzerland is the work of Anna Dickinson. The British glass artist has created all new works for the show curated by collector, philanthropist, and design entrepreneur Catherine Walsh.
Dickinson likes to experiment with material combinations and techniques in her London studio, embracing the sometimes magical role light can play in her work. Whitewall caught up with the artist to learn more about “Everything Considered,” up through November 2.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about your collaboration with Catherine Walsh as curator of “Everything Considered”?
ANNA DICKINSON: Once we had decided on the idea of a guest curator, Stefan von Bartha mentioned he would ask if his friend Catherine Walsh would be interested. Luckily, she was, so we met in my studio in South London. Meeting Catherine for the first time was inspiring, we had an instant connection. We talked for hours and I was excited to hear her ideas for the show which were fresh and new, just what we needed. Catherine has a deep knowledge of the art and design fields through her own collecting which added a new perspective to her approach curating my show.
WW: How did your recent visit to the Donald Judd Foundation in New York inspire material and color choices for some of the works that will be on view?
AD: For many years I have admired Donald Judd’s work, particularly the simplicity and the combinations of metals and acrylics used in his work. Visiting his house this year was very inspiring for me. It was good to see the domestic areas, like the kitchen and bathroom, his choice of pots and pans, ceramic dishes and drinking glasses. The exposed pipes in the kitchen, galvanised dustbin and of course his drawing desk with his tools carefully laid out. It was also a wonderful opportunity to view his sculptures in a domestic setting.
I have used aluminum in my work for many years, but this visit inspired me to use primary colours in a bold way, something I had not done till this point.
WW: What do you enjoy about the challenge of creating in glass?
AD: Glass is a notoriously difficult material to work with, no matter how many years of experience one has, there is always something new to learn. It is a material which will test you!
It is a heavy material and needs to be treated with caution and respect and I enjoy these aspects. I also never repeat a design, so I am always exploring new territory with the material, trying new ways to express myself. Unlike ceramics, light always plays an important part. A piece can be placed in a certain part of a room, the sun light can change, suddenly engulfing the work, momentarily revealing different qualities within the material which can be quite magical. It is a challenging material, but when things go well it can be tremendously rewarding.
WW: Can you tell us about your studio space in London?
AD: I was born in London and over the years had six different London Studios. Commercial spaces are becoming rarer and rarer in London as these are now being converted to residential spaces. Consequently, rents for artist studios have increased dramatically over the past few years and leases become shorter, leaving one feeling vulnerable. I made the decision to not continue to rent but to build.
I live in a detached house with an integrated double garage in South East London, my husband and I decided to convert this garage and expand. Our friend Paul Baker (Ambo Architects) helped us design a space for me to work in, using this garage space and some surrounding land.
As this studio space would become part of the house it was done to a high spec, with underfloor heating along with plenty of large windows creating lots of natural daylight. It is quite different from previous spaces I have had in the way that it is very finished which means I work in a much cleaner way. I got rid of quite a lot of equipment that either was noisy or had the potential to create bad fumes, only taking with me pieces that I use regularly. I really like this way of working; I like that fact that everything I now have in my space is there for a reason. I also love the fact that it is always an even temperature, even in the middle of winter.