PRESS RELEASE - EDINBURGH-BASED ARTIST JEFF ZIMMER WINS TOP PRIZE AT BRITISH GLASS BIENNALE
Edinburgh-based artist Jeff Zimmer won the top prize at the 2019 British Glass Biennale, part of the International Festival of Glass, in Stourbridge. The award was selected by an international body of jurors and is the top prize for works created using glass in the UK.
ABOUT THE WORK
Zimmer’s work, The Fragility of Memory and Material (Personal), is a memorial to his first lover, John, who died of AIDS in 1995. It consists of images of their relationship together that have been laser-etched onto mobile phone screen glass. These are suspended by long threads so they sway and move with slightest breeze, such as that generated when a viewer approaches the work. The glass is approximately 0.02mm thick, so it is extremely fragile.
“We use our mobile phones to capture, frame and share our memories. As the time since his death continues to pass the more I realise the enormity of what was lost when he died. These images, laser engraved onto mobile phone glass – a device which is omnipresent in my life but completely unknown to him – are an attempt to keep him present instead of allowing his image to be swiped or scrolled past. They reveal ephemerality of (a) life; and the absurd wish to ensure the memories of our time together live on even after all those who shared those memories have also died.
“Ironically/appropriately/cruelly, the shadow is so much more present than the image itself.”
The piece is part of an ongoing series of works that use glass phone screens to explore transience. It has been acquired for the permanent collection of the European Museum for Modern Glass, in Coburg, Germany.
ARTIST STATEMENT & BIO
Jeff Zimmer creates works with glass that explore ambiguity, morality and mortality in contemporary society and politics, and engage with the material and symbolic properties of glass, as well as the sensual experiences of mystery and light. He subverts notions of light in glass, investigating its capacity for evocation, mystery and ambiguity in place of its traditional associations with clarity, divinity, revelation and simplified notions of truth.
Jeff originally trained in theatre in Washington, DC, before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland to obtain his Masters in glass painting. In addition to the 2019 British Glass Biennale Prize, he won Second Prize in the 2014 Coburg Prize for Contemporary Glass, Europe’s largest prize for artists working with glass. He was the 2014 Stephen Procter Fellow at the Australian National University and a 2016 Fellow at the Creative Glass Center of America.
His work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the European Museum for Modern Glass, Coburg, Germany; the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark and the Glasmuseum Frauenau, Germany. He teaches and has a studio in Edinburgh.
Jeff's work is also featured as part of 'Field Notes' now showing at Bullseye Projects' Byre space in Latheronwheel, Caithness. This site-specific exhibition, which also includes artists Annie Cattrell, Anne Vibeke Mou and Anne Petters, has been called "...one of the best exhibitions you will find anywhere on the planet just now, and I urge you to see it," by Dr. Peter Hill in the autumn 2019 'Art North' Magazine.
ABOUT THE BRITISH GLASS BIENNALE
The British Glass Biennale is the foremost juried exhibition of excellence in contemporary glass by British artists, designers and craftspeople in the UK. With at least 80 major new glass works selected every two years, the British Glass Biennale is the flagship exhibition within the International Festival of Glass and attracts collectors, galleries and museums from around the world.
The British Glass Biennale is open to artists, designers, craftspeople and students working in all areas of contemporary glass practice or using glass as a key element. The emphasis is on new work demonstrating the highest level of excellence in design, creative imagination and technical skill.
Seventy-four artists have been selected out of 200 applicants for the 2019 British Glass Biennale. They presented the most interesting, diverse and outstanding glass art made in the UK in the last two years.
The jurors were: Róisín de Buitléar, artist; Dr Jane Cook, Director at Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery, Penn State University; Monica Guggisberg, artist; Angel Monzon, Creative Director, Vessel Gallery, London; and Cathy Shankland, Exhibitions Office, Inverness Museum & Art Gallerywww.highlifehighland.com/inverness-museum-and-art-gallery/.
British Glass Biennale
23 August – 28 September, 2019
Ruskin Glass Centre, Wollaston Road, Amblecote, Stourbridge DY8 4HF
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm.