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Three x 3 exhibition in Garter Lane Arts, Waterford, Ireland.

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Three x 3 exhibition in Garter Lane Arts, Waterford, Ireland

New work by the Three by 3 collective Sean Campbell, Scott Benefield and Andrea Spencer.

Three x 3: Background

In 2008 Andrea Spencer, Sean Campbell and Scott Benefield joined together with the aim of exposing a wider audience in Ireland to contemporary Studio Glass. They were three artists working with three different techniques and addressing completely different subject matter, but found a common ground in the relative scarcity of artistic glass on view. Their strategy was to present a range of work to the widest possible audience, and their tactic was to organize a series of exhibitions around the island.
Each of the artists employs a different method of working with glass, and each pursues a substantially different artistic agenda:
•Andrea Spencer’s finely detailed hollow sculptures exploit the material properties of transparency and fragility characteristic to flameworking, whilst also addressing form, content and qualities found in the nature.
• Sean Campbell’s work references wall mounted artwork, such as painting and printmaking. Using glass both as canvas and medium visual themes are explored through colour, shape and composition but with added dimensions of transparency and depth.
•Scott Benefield’s intricately patterned blown vessels are closely tied to the forms of functional glass objects, and engage the history of the medium through their innovative application of traditional Italian glassblowing techniques.
As of this writing, the Three x 3 collective has staged five exhibitions of their work--roughly once a year--in venues that have ranged from Portstewart to Bray, often engaging the local audience through artist’s lectures. The sixth exhibition will take place in Waterford, a city that is synonymous with the finest traditions of glassmaking.

The Studio Glass Movement: Context

The essence of the global Studio Glass movement that began in the early 60s was to take the material out of its usual industrial setting and put it into the hands of artists. Glass production had long been governed by utilitarian needs and the demands of the marketplace, which were met by industrial designers and modern methods of mass production. When artists were involved with the glass factories—typically in the design of limited edition pieces—the traditional division of labor between designer and maker was respected, and the resultant work reflected no direct, hands-on experience by the artist.
Studio Glass was an experiment that merged the sensibility of artists with the skills of a craftsman, that scaled industrial technologies down to a manageable size for private studios, and that made an ancient medium into a vehicle of contemporary expression. The results of this experiment have been well received in America, Japan, Australia and many part of Europe, where an entire ecosystem of schools, galleries, publications and collectors devoted to Studio Glass has flourished. Although this same development has been slow to emerge in Ireland, artists from both north and south of the border appear frequently in international exhibitions and continue to make their work from a handful of small studios around the island.