Mark Eliott is a contemporary artist working Primarily in flame-worked glass and also incorporating a variety of media such as music, stop-motion animation and wood carving.
His work has a number of themes. One is sculptural abstraction informed by synaesthesia and the dance between improvisation and structure. Another is representation of biological organisms influenced by the 19th -20th century glassblowers Rudolph and Leopold Blaschka as well as the ancient tradition of glass animal making. A third area is narrative based works including the writing and the telling of stories through objects. Often this is inspired by mythology and the story telling of his father.
Mark completed a Master of visual arts and Master of studio arts at Sydney College of the arts as well as associate diploma in Jazz studies (saxophone) at Sydney conservatorium of music. Collaborations with other artists is also a feature of Marks work for example the stop-motion animation project with Jack McGrath for which they coined the term Flame-ation (flame-glass animation). This work aims to bring glass to life by presenting the object together with animation, and sometimes, live performance.
Marks work is in many private and public collections including The Corning Glass Museum in New York, The Glass Museet in Denmark, The National Glass collection in Wagga Wagga, The National Film and Sound Archive and National gallery in Canberra, The Canberra museum and the Gallery of Western Australia, where he won the 2019 Tom Malone Glass prize. His work is on sale at a number of galleries including Veronica George in Melbourne, Glass artists gallery in Sydney and Canberra Glassworks and will soon be available online through Art Glass Canberra.
Mark has taught flame-work – at venues such as 107 projects, Sydney, Gordon Studios, Victoria and Canberra Glassworks and provides interactive demonstrations. He has a strong interest in environmental issues, continues to play music and lives with his family between Braidwood in southern NSW and Sydney.
Essence of Cloud
Essence of Cloud is a multi-faceted project comprised mainly of Glass objects and text but also mixed media, watercolour sketches, projected animation and performance. It represents a major turning point for Mark, as a long-form body of work which delves deeper into narrative and character development through detailed articulation of an imagined family history which at some points intersects with the real. Some serious ideas are imbedded in its predominantly whimsical terrain.
Clouds materialize and dematerialize in the swirling sky that Alfred Russel Wallace called ‘the great aerial ocean’ Each cloud is as unique as each snow flake – perhaps even each water molecule. The renowned self-taught scientist Dr Eliott-McFoggarty, claims that between these molecules, may be found a mysterious mist, a wondrous essence so sublime – so subtle that it often defies human powers of detection.
Cloud Essence Bottles
This essence was ostensibly collected by hot-air balloon and bottled by naturalist Professor McFoggarty in the 1870s-80s using an apparatus passed down by his sixteenth century Spanish-Alchemist ancestor Sergio Foggartino and now housed in the Corning Glass museum – under the erroneous title: Trick Glass.
The original method of cloud-essence extraction from a mountaintop is illustrated by the work: Apparatus for the Extraction of Cloud Essence, also housed at the corning Museum in New York.
The Cloud Essence bottles were produced by McFoggarty’s cousin Ferdinand – an itinerant glass blower, to the design of the professor’s housekeeper and watercolourist: Vanessa Winthrop. What if anything, these bottles still actually contain, having been sealed with beeswax for nearly a century and a half, is uncertain, however scientists warn that if they were opened for testing, the contents might instantly disperse and the mystery lost forever.
The indications on the bottles read as follows:
A SPIRITOUS TONIC
Extracted directly from the clouds for the revitalization of the human constitution. Composed of molecules not found in even the purist rainwater and intermingled with various botanical vapors, which rise up from the earthly realm during the blossoming seasons. Efficacious in the treatment of lethargy, hysteria, myopia, bellicosity, and maudlin attitude.
Extracted directly from the clouds, this scent is so subtle as to be scarcely detectable by the human olfactory organ. It will nonetheless elevate the mind of both wearer and addressee, causing individuals of a susceptible temperament to swoon and enter an altered state in which the wearer is perceived to have the powers and bearing of a goddess.