Hidden Gestures | Canalside Gallery

Cathryn Shilling presents a collection of glass sculptures at Ealing Road’s Canalside Gallery

Sunday 9th July – Sunday 16th July

Opening hours:
Sunday 9th July: 11 am – 6 pm
Monday 10th – Friday 14th July: 11 am – 6 pm, by appointment only
Saturday 15th July: 3 – 6 pm
Sunday 16th July: 11 am – 6 pm

After graduating in Graphic Design from the Central School of Art and Design in London, Cathryn Shilling worked as a Designer until her family’s move to the USA in 2001 prompted her to pursue a new and daring creative direction. Having studied the art and craft of stained glass in Connecticut, she returned to London in 2004 and began studying and working with kiln formed glass, as well as becoming a student of blown glass at Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing Studio where she was also curator for 10 years. In 2009 she set up her own studio in London from where she has gone on to create an impressive and highly varied body of work.

Shilling experiments with colour and technique to produce beautiful one off sculptures and her innovative pieces push the glass beyond the viewer’s usual comfort zones. Employing Venetian cane techniques, diaphanous glass rods appear to be woven together like fabric, mimicking the flexibility and movement of cloth, a technique which has very much become Shilling’s trademark. The apparent frailty of the glass is balanced by the strong dynamic forms and when viewed with differing levels of light, the often subtle but vast spectrum of hues of each complex piece are revealed.

A long standing fascination for Shilling is Kinesics or the study of body language, by which humans subconsciously transmit and receive non-verbal communication. These physical expressions may reveal our true feelings by signalling the difference between what we say and what we really mean. In her most recent and ambitious body of work Cloaked, Shilling combines many of her ideas. Statuesque blown figures are enrobed in the artist’s signature glass, exploring our desire to cover the human form. What does the clothing convey about each individual? Their mood, their emotional state? Not only serving as protection, our clothing can broadcast, often with false judgement, our position and identity in society. It seems therefore only fitting, that these are named after mythical Greek figures, the tragic story for each still very much relevant today.

Shilling’s work is shown and represented in collections globally and in 2009 she was the winner of the V&A’s ‘Inspired By’ award for glass. She was listed no. 4 in the ‘Glassation’ 2015 list of ‘The Most Game Changing Female Glass Artists’ and no. 25 in the Graphic Design Hub’s list of ‘The 30 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive Today’.


Cathryn Shilling ‘Cloaked Figures’, photo Ester Segarra
Feature image: Cathryn Shilling ‘Pandora’s Jar’, photo Ester Segarra
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