Two-Two | Artist Statements + Biographies

Image: Louis Grant + Madisyn Zabel, sunrise got us up early, 2023. Photo: Ash St George (Pew Pew Studio).

Louis Grant | Artist Statement

Louis Grant’s practice explores the paradox of internal and external self-expression within a queer context. In his work, Grant searches for his authentic voice and exploring the delicate balance of ‘performance of self’ and the suppression of ‘true self’. He focuses on theories of unbecoming, unmaking and undoing through the ‘queer art of failure’ to strip back the performance of self to find his authentic, raw and nuanced voice. Using these concepts, Grant pairs back materials to their most pure honest form which allows glass to be both fragile and strong.

Through this deconstruction of process, the artist begins to create a material voice that, much like his queer self, is outside the norm. Glass is scientifically an amorphous solid, neither liquid nor solid glass is another type of matter. A fluid medium that is constantly becoming; continually at the sublime precipice of neither “this” nor “that”, it is outside of the binary definition. Grant considers glass, as material, to be queer.

Activated by the viewer, Grant’s work attempts to draw you in, to interrogate the minimal forms or engulfing viewers as they become part of the work. Scratches, colour inconsistencies, bubbles within the glass and the materials surfaces illuminate the inherent qualities of glass, deconstructing and amplifying the truth of the medium which is authentic in its position as non-binary and beautiful in this supposed imperfection. The use of neon lights harness the transformational quality of light, charging the atmosphere and consuming all that comes into contact with it.

The works act as an insight into the queer experience with notions of love, loss, celebration, desire, shame, nostalgia and melancholy.

Louis Grant | Biography

Louis Grant is a queer emerging artist whose work seamlessly crosses between studio glass and inter-disciplinary practice. He recognises the importance of traditional craft skills and uses them to push the boundaries of both glass making and contemporary sculpture.

Graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor of Visual Art (Honours) from the Australian National University School of Art and Design, Grant works professionally within the Canberra arts community and as an independent studio artist. A residency at Canberra Glassworks, awarded through the ANU Emerging Artist Support Scheme, has been pivotal in Grant further developing his material voice.

Grant has exhibited nationally and internationally, having been selected for Hatched National Graduate Show 2019 at PICA, the Klaus Moje Glass Award 2019 at Canberra Glassworks, National Emerging Art Glass Prize (Highly Commended) 2020 at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, and Talente 2022 at Internationale Handwerkmesse Munich.

Grant presented his first solo exhibition; Breakable Heaven, at Canberra Contemporary Art Space in 2022, with support from ArtsACT to produce new sculptural work, followed by awash shown at UNSW Galleries.

Grant lives and works on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land, known as Canberra.

Madisyn Zabel | Artist Statement

Within my practice, I explore ideas of perception and illusion through the use of transparent solid glass and mixed media. Since my studies, I have been fascinated by the illusionistic qualities of glass and take particular inspiration from Louis Albert Necker’s Necker cube - a simple wire-frame drawing of a cube that is a bistable illusion with multiple interpretations. Through a series of geometric glass shapes, I attempt to create my own three-dimensional versions of the Necker cube. The shifting quality of my work is activated through both perception and the vantage point of the viewer.

Madisyn Zabel | Biography

Madisyn Zabel is a Canberra-based artist who investigates the growing dialogue between craft and digital technology. Using glass and mixed media, she extrapolates the dynamic relationships between three-dimensional objects and their twodimensional interpretations.

Zabel’s fascination with the visually deceptive qualities of glass began when she discovered the Necker cube - an optical illusion created by Swiss crystallographer, Louis Albert Necker.

Zabel has a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Glass) (Hons) (2015) from the Australian National University School of Art & Design, Canberra. She has participated in residencies at Berlin Glas e.V., Canberra Glassworks, Glass Studio at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, USA and most recently at JamFactory in Adelaide.

Zabel was awarded Warm Glass UK’s Glass Prize in 2016, the Jutta Cuny-Franz Foundation’s Talent Award from the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf in 2017 and the FUSE Emerging Artist Prize, JamFactory Adelaide. Her work has been shown internationally – including at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou; Berlin Glas e.V and the Corning Museum of Glass, New Glass Review publication. Between 2019 and 2020 Wagga Wagga Art Gallery exhibited Perpetual Reversal, a commissioned installation of Zabel’s work and in 2021 she had her first commercial gallery solo exhibition at Sabbia Gallery in Sydney.