Emma Varga

 ” FRAGILE WORLD” 

Works in this extraordinary collection  convey messages of hope and fragility contained in glass sculptures that evoke breathtaking imagery of vibrant landscapes, coral reefs and icy continents.

When Emma moved to Australia in 1995 following political unrest in her homeland, (the former Yugoslavia), she was already an experienced glass artist with twenty years working in the industry. She graduated from the University of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1975 earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Applied Art, with majors in Glass Design and Ceramic Sculpture.

Her work was always influenced by the environment. Since graduating she travelled to remote places untouched by man, from the high mountains in Europe to the far north of Norway. In recent years escalating global warming prompted her to travel to Antarctica to find inspiration for a body of work she planned to make which she hoped would further raise the awareness  and contribute to the global conversation. “I was completely mesmerised by the beauty and serenity of the frozen continent, the vast array of ice surfaces, turquoise and blue shining from the depth of ice through translucent white surface, clarity of ocean revealing submerged parts of iceberg, a rare appearance of ice crystals”.  The resulting works for her exhibition “Antarctica” in 2013 were magical. Large icy sculptures and panels with intricate surface detail in turquoise and white pate de verre.  ‘The Great Barrier Reef continues to influence and inspire me to make a new series of work focussed on the fragile but vibrant coral gardens immersed in azure blue waters now threatened by coral bleaching and human impact on the environment.’

The interplay between how and why she makes her dynamic and beautiful works captivating nature so succinctly is an incredibly complex and laborious process. To make each object, she cuts thousands of tiny glass elements from clear and transparent colored glass sheets and combines them with glass frits and stringers. The sculptural glass objects are made from 20–400 thin transparent glass layers; glass mosaic elements, colored frits and stringers are assembled on each sheet, according to a complicated three-dimensional plan that she envisions ahead of time. These are then fused together in stages. It takes two weeks to fire and slowly cool down large sculptural works, then a further two weeks to grind and polish all of the surfaces to perfection. Only then it is finally possible to see the inside; all the fine details and veil-like structures floating in the sea of clear glass.

Emma is a natural storyteller and her works have always told stories. Memories from her birthplace in Ada and major events that shaped her life. Her enduring passion has been using her art and her love of nature as an agent for social change, particularly in relation to climate change.

In 2017 Emma was invited to join a group of International artists travelling to Svalbard Archipelago, Norway,  in waters above the Arctic Circle.  She was also the winner of the prestigious  Stephen Procter fellowship where she received a 4 to 8 week residency at the Australian National University School of Art and Design Glass Workshop. She used this time to experiment and  develop ideas for an exhibition  based on her observations and photographs taken on this extraordinary journey.

SELECTED MAJOR EXHIBITIONS:

2018
MELBOURNE. Australian Contemporary ‘Fragile World’. Solo Nov/Dec
SOFA Chicago represented by Bender Gallery of Asheville, NC Nov
SYDNEY, Sabbia gallery, MASTERS of AUSTRALIAN GLASS – SKETCH, Jan/Feb

2017
SOFA Chicago, represented by Bender Gallery of Asheville, NC
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, BLUE WORLD, Solo Exhibition, August
VIENNA, Austria, Sikabonyi Gallery, INTERNATIONAL GLASS ART, March
SARASOTA, FL, Sikabonyi Gallery, INTERNATIONAL GLASS ART, January
SACRAMENTO, CA, Crocker Museum, GLASS FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM, July-October
SANTA FE, NM, Tansey Contemporary, NATURE TROUGH GLASS, June
MELBOURNE, Kirra Galleries, ILLUMINATING GLASS PRIZE FINALISTS, June
MELBOURNE, Kirra Galleries, RAINFOREST TO THE REEF, group show, April
SYDNEY, Sabbia gallery, MASTERS of AUSTRALIAN GLASS – HOME, Jan/Feb
WEST PALM BEACH, Art Palm Beach, Represented by Bender Gallery, Asheville,NC, January

2015
SANTA FE, Tansey Contemporary, SMALL SCALE, BIG IDEAS, Nov.2015 –Jan.2016
CHICAGO, SOFA Chicago, Represented by Tansey Contemporary, Santa Fe, November  VIENNA, Sikabonyi Art Glass Gallery, NEW ANTARCTICA WORKS, April
MELBOURNE, Kirra Gallery, ‘SHARED INSPIRATIONS’ ,dual solo show, February
LOS ANGELES, LA Fine Art Fair, represented by Tansey Contemporary of Santa Fe, January

2014
CHICAGO, SOFA Chicago, Represented by Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, November
SANTA FE, Tansey Contemporary, APOCALYPSE REVERSED, solo exhibition, August
CANBERRA, Canberra Glass Works, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2012, August
ASPEN, ART ASPEN, Represented by Tansey Contemporary of Santa Fe, July
WAGGA WAGGA, Art Gallery, VIRTUAL GARDEN – solo exhibition July-Sept
SANTA FE, Tansey Contemporary Gallery, BIODIVERSITY AND HUMAN IMPACT ON
THE ENVIRONMENT, group exhibition, May
SANTA FE, Tansey Contemporary Gallery, ART + DESIGN NY, April
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, MY PLACES OF GREEN, solo exhibition, April
PALM DESERT, Austin Art Studio, New works from ANTARCTICA series

2013
CHICAGO, SOFA, Represented by Kirra Gallery, NEW ANTARCTICA WORKS, Nov.
The INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION of GLASS – KANAZAWA 2013, Japan, October
CANBERRA, Canberra Glass Works, ANTARCTICA – Objects & Installations, Sept.- November MELBOURNE, Kirra Gallery, ANTARCTICA – Icebergs, July-August
VIENNA, Künstlerhaus Wien, WIKAM, Represented by Sikabonyi Gallery,  March 2013
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, PRIMA, February-March
WAGGA WAGGA, Art Gallery, ENSEMBLE, February-April

2012
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, SALUTE VIII, group exhibition, December 2012-January 2013
CHICAGO, SOFA Chicago, Represented by Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, November
MELBOURNE, Kirra Gallery, DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, September-October
CANBERRA, Canberra Glass Works, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2012, August
MADISON (WI,USA), Chasen Museum, SPARK and FLAME, 50 Years of Art Glass, Apr-Aug.
NEW YORK, Bonham’s, UrbanGlass ’35 for 35’ Auction, 5th April

2011
MELBOURNE, Kirra Gallery, SEGUE, November-December
CHICAGO, SOFA Chicago, Represented by Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, November
AUCKLAND, NZ, Masterworks Gallery, TOP DRAWER, September-October
CANBERRA, Canberra Glass Works, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2011, August
NEW YORK, Chashama Gallery, FETE DE VERRE, March-April
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, GEOMETRY, group exhibition, January-February 2011.

2010
SYDNEY, Manly Art Gallery, LONG REEF, solo exhibition, December-January 2011.
MELBOURNE, Axia Modern Art, CAPTURING LIGHT, November
CHICAGO, SOFA Chicago, Represented by Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, November
CANBERRA, Canberra Glass Works, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2010, August
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, INTO THE GREEN, solo exhibition, August
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, WINTER, group exhibition, June-July
MELBOURNE, Kirra Gallery, FROM THE GARDEN, solo exhibition, March
PALM DESERT, CA, Imago Galleries, OZ – Australian & New Zealand studio glass, February

2009
SYDNEY, Artereal Gallery, CATS & DOGS, December
SARASOTA, FL, NEW WORKS, solo exhibition, Hodgell Gallery, November
CHICAGO, SOFA Chicago, Represented by Kirra Gallery, Melbourne, November
AUCKLAND, NZ, Masterworks Gallery, CATS & DOGS, October
LAKE McQUARIE, Lake McQuarie Art Gallery, CRAFTING LANDSCAPE, 4 artists, October
SYDNEY, Manly Art Gallery, IN PARADISE,  local artists exhibition, September
CANBERRA, Canberra Glass Works, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2009, August
PALM DESERT, CA, presentation of NEW WORKS, Imago Galleries, November
NEW YORK, SOFA New York, represented by Compendium Gallery (NZ), May
ROYAL OAK, MI, Habatat Galleries, 37th Annual Glass Invitational Exhibition, April-May
PALM SPRINGS (CA), Palm Springs Art Museum, CONTEMPORARY GLASS,
Reinstallation of Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection, March

2008
CANBERRA, GlassWorks, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2008, August
NEW YORK, SOFA 2008, represented by Compendium Gallery (NZ), May
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, VIBRANT, solo show, May-June

2007
CHICAGO, SOFA 2007, represented by ‘Compendium Gallery (NZ), November
SARASOTA, FL (US), Hodgell Gallery, ONE FINE DAY, solo show, November
ADELAIDE, JamFactory’ Gallery, THE STORY ABOUT RED, solo exhibition, Oct-December
The INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION of GLASS – KANAZAWA 2007, Japan, October-November
LONDON, ART LONDON,represented by ‘Glass Artist’s Gallery (Sydney), October
AUCKLAND (NZ), Compendium G; LAVA RED, GRASS GREEN, OCEAN BLUE, solo exhib.
WAGGA WAGGA, Art Gallery, HERE THEY CAME, June
PALM SPRINGS (CA), Palm Springs Art Museum, CONTEMPORARY GLASS, Inaugural exhibition of Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection, March-April
SYDNEY, Glass Artist’s Gallery, ENCORE, March
SYDNEY, Sabbia Gallery, MASTERS OF AUSTRALIAN GLASS, 2007, January

2006
LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), Marjan Lovšin Gallery, OBJECTS, solo exhibition, Sept-November
CANBERRA, School of Art Gallery, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2006, August
MELBOURNE, Axia Modern Art, Solo exhibition, 10 YEARS IN AUSTRALIA, August
BELGRADE (Serbia), Museum of Applied Art, DREAMTIME DOWN UNDER, Retrospective solo exhibition, June-July

2005

LONDON, Victoria & Albert Museum, IMPORT EXPORT GLOBAL, September-December CANBERRA, Craft ACT Gallery, RANAMOK FINALISTS 2005, August
PHILADELPHIA (US), National Liberty Museum, GLASS DOWN UNDER, August-September
HONG KONG, Gaffer Studio Glass Gallery, AUSTRALIAN GLASS, May
SINGAPORE, Singapore Art Festival,  AUSTRALIAN GLASS, June
SYDNEY, Raglan Gallery, TOWARD THE INNER, May-June
MELBOURNE, Craft Victoria Gallery, MIND MAPS,  April-May
KECSKEMET, (HU), Museion, 1st TRIENNIAL of SILICATE ARTS, March-May
SYDNEY, Object Galleries, GLOBAL LOCAL, January-March

2004
BUDAPEST (HU), Glass Pyramid Gallery, SOMETHING DIFFERENT – AUSTRALIAN GLASS SYDNEY, Quadrivium gallery, SOMETHING DIFFERENT…

2003
MELBOURNE, Axia Modern Art, CAST & KILN FORMED GLASS

2002
TAIWAN, Tainan, Taipei and Taichung,  MITSUKOSHI ART FESTIVAL
SYDNEY, Quadrivium, DIALOGUE
SYDNEY and WASHINGTON (US), RANAMOK Glass Prize Finalists

2001
MELBOURNE, Axia Modern Art,  AUSTRALIAN GLASS… THE CUTTING EDGE
SYDNEY, Object Galleries,  FORMAL QUALITIES
SYDNEY, Quadrivium, GLASS ART IN AUSTRALIA

2000
MELBOURNE, Axia Modern Art, FUSIONS
SYDNEY, Quadrivium Gallery, QUADRIVIUM’S FINEST.
PITTSBURGH (US), Morgan Gallery, BUY/BY WOMEN

1998
SYDNEY, Object Galleries, Customs House, MAPPING IDENTITY

1995
MELBOURNE, Australia, Meat Market Craft Centre, GLASS IN AUSTRALIA

1994
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, Applied Arts Gallery, CONTEMPORARY GLASS ART

1990
TOKYO, Presentation of the MAGIC GLASSTOWN BELGRADE

1989
LIEGE, Belgium, CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN SCULPTURE IN CRYSTAL AND GLASS
BELGRADE,(YU), Museum of Applied Art, 15 YEARS OF WORK IN GLASS, retrospective

1987
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, Sebastian Art Gallery, YUGOSLAVIA’S TOP DESIGNERS

1985
IMMENHAUSEN, Germany, Glass Exhibition at the International workshop
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, the National Museum, THE OCTOBER SHOW LAUREATES

1984
MIAMI, Florida/USA, International Glass Design Exhibition GLASS THAT WORKS

1983
VALENCIA, Spain, International Glass Festival VICOINTER

1981
KASSEL, Germany, International Exhibition GLASSKUNST ’81

1979-82
CORNING, NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, TOLEDO, PARIS, LONDON, TOKYO
World Glass Survey – Touring Exhibition NEW GLASS

1977
COBURG, Germany, European Glass Exhibition COBURGER GLASPREIS

1975-95
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, Art Association’s MAY and OCTOBER ART SHOWs

ACTIVITY & AWARDS (selected major only):

1952

Born in Ada, Yugoslavia (known as Emilija Marodic, before 1996)

1975
Graduated from the University of Applied Arts in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
Bachelor of Arts (Visual & Applied Art), major(s) in Glass design and Ceramic sculpture.

1975-2009
Works as freelance artist producing glass art and design.

1976-91
Co-operated with Glass Factories in Yugoslavia exploring all kinds of glass techniques using
them for the production of large glass series for the market and to create unique art work

1978-91
Co-operated with Sebastian Art Gallery, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. Over 150 glass design projects were commissioned by the gallery and produced for the market in large volume series.

1988 & 1991
Participated in the 3rd & 4th Interglass Symposium NOVY BOR, Czechoslovakia

1990
Annual Award of the Association of Applied Artists (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) for entire opus.

1995
Moved to Australia, continuing to work as freelance glass artist.

1996-2017
Currently developing multiple layers fusing / casting – techniques to create glass objects

2010-2017
Currently developing paté de verre and glass mosaic techniques, in combination with fusing – to create glass objects and panels

2004
Established ‘SOMETHING DIFFERENT – Creative Laboratory’ in Sydney, Collaroy
Guest teacher at Creative Glass in Zürich (CH) and Budapest (HU).

2005
Guest teacher at Creative Glass in London, Lectures and presentations at Singapore Art Festival, Museum of Applied Art and University of Art in Belgrade, Serbia

2006
Recipient of Australia Council Visual Arts Grant for creating new work for upcoming solo exhibitions ‘The Story About Red’ at JamFactory and SOFA Chicago in 2007.

2007
Guest teacher at Glass Furnace (Turkey) and Master class at Exemplar Glass (UK)
Lecture & presentation at Sydney College of Art and Ringling School of Art & Design, Florida

2008
Guest teacher at Wanganui (NZ), Michigan (USA) and at Glass Furnace in Istanbul (Turkey)

2009
Guest teacher (Masterclass), Wanganui, New Zealand, February
Winner of Art Alliance Excellence Award at 37.International Invitational Exhibition at
Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI (USA)
Presentations at Palm Springs Art Museum, CA, April
SOMETHING DIFFERENT 2009 – ‘Cats & Dogs’ project in Sydney, January-December

2010
Guest teacher at Glass Furnace (Turkey), August

2011
Master classes at Ausglass Conference in Sydney, January;

2012
Recipient of Australia Council Visual Arts Grant for new work based on research on Antarctica for 3 solo exhibitions at Kirra Galleries,
Canberra Glassworks and JamFactory in 2013-14 Research trip to Antarctica, December

2013
Guest teacher at Glass Furnace (Turkey), June

2014
Artist of the month – March 2014, Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, USA’
Guest teacher at Corning Studio, Corning, NY, August-September
Guest teacher at Weisser Glass Studio, Kensington,MD, August and November

2015
‘First Light’ artist residency, ‘Arctic Glass Studio’, Berlevag,Norway, February
Guest teacher at Oatka School of Glass, NY, April and October
Panel discussion on ‘Glass Works inspired by Antarctica’, SOFA Chicago, Moderator:
Editor of GLASS ART QUARTERLY magazine (NY), November 2015.
Guest teacher at Weisser Glass Studio, Kensington,MD, November

2016
Guest teacher at Oatka School of Glass, NY, June

2017
ARCTIC CIRCLE Residency, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway, September-October Stephen Procter Fellowship recipient;
Residency at ANU, Canberra, August – SeptemberGuest teacher at ‘Ed Hoy Glass’,Chicago – November

2018
Guest teacher at Corning Studio, Corning, NY, January
Guest teacher at Glass Furnace, Turkey, May

WORKS INCLUDED INTO FOLLOWING COLLECTIONS:

PowerHouse Museum (Decorative Arts & Design), Sydney;
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra;
National Art Glass Collection, Wagga Wagga,
Australia; Australian Art Trust, Melbourne;
Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection at Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA;
Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
Design Center Ishikawa, Japan;
Toyama Glass Art Museum, Toyama, Japan;
The Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, Serbia;
Glassmuseum Ebeltoft, Denmark;
The Arrango Design Foundation, Miami, USA;
The Glassgallerie Immenhausen, Germany; The Interglass Symposium Collection, Czech Republic;
and numerous major private collections in Australia, USA, Europe, Asia and Africa.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

2014
Glass Quarterly, ‘Icy shift’, Essay by Victoria Josslin, Issue #135
Craft Arts International, ‘Tableaux of Antarctica by Emma Varga’, Essay by Eva Czernis-Ryl, Issue #90

2010
Long Reef, Catalogue for solo exhibition at Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney,
Essay by Eva Czernis-Ryl

2009
Glass Quarterly (Urban Glass, New York): Veils of Color, Shafts of Light, Essay by Grace Cochrane, winter edition #117
Craft Arts International, Cats & Dogs, Essay by Eva Czernis-Ryl, Issue #77

2007
The Story About Red, Catalogue for retrospective solo exhibition at JamFactory, Adelaide
Essay by Noris Ioannou, short stories by Emma Varga; ISBN 978-0-646-48211-8

2006
Dreamtime Down Under, Catalogue for retrospective solo exhibitionin June-July 2006; published by
the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, Serbia; Essays by Grace Cochrane
and Ljuba Gamulin; ISBN 86-7415-106-X
Craft Arts International, Red: Emma Varga’s (glass) art & life, Dr.Noris Ioannou, Issue #67

2005
Margot Osborne:  Australian Glass Today, 2005, ISBN 1-86254-668-1

2004
Craft Arts International, Something Different…, Ivana Jirasek, Issue #61
Craft Arts International, Rainbow bridge in Budapest, Fekete Gyorgy, Issue #62
Object Magazine, Global Local, Brian Parkes & Michelle Hespe, issue #45

2001
Object/CD ROM, Contemporary Australian Design,

1999
Object Magazine, Mapping Identity, Noel Frankham, Issue #3

1998
Craft Arts International, Memories and first impressions, Beverley Kenna, Issue #44
Catalogues for solo & group exhibitions, publications in Europe

NOTES ON TECHNIQUE

The technique of ‘multiple layers fusing’ has been gradually developed by Emma Varga during the past 20 years.
It enables her to create and to gain control over three dimensional images inside large transparent glass objects.

To make each of these sculptural objects, it is necessary to cut thousands of tiny glass elements from clear and transparent coloured glass sheets and combine them with glass frits and stringers.

The sculptural glass objects are made from 20–400 thin transparent glass layers; glass mosaic elements, colored frits and stringers
are assembled on each sheet, according to a complicated three-dimensional plan. These are then fused together in stages.

It takes two weeks to fire and slowly cool down large sculptural works, then a further two weeks to grind and polish all of the surfaces to perfection.
Only then it is finally possible to see the inside; all the fine details and veil-like structures floating in the sea of clear glass.

Since 2010, developing glass mosaic techniques and new approaches to pate de verre
techniques, especially a combination of pate de verre with fusing and casting.

Additional Artist information