Emma Varga is fascinated by the clarity and transparency of glass and the possibilities of freezing within it 3D images inspired by nature. Along with the new directions her work has lately taken, Varga has developed a new technique of fusing and casting glass sheets.
It is her past factory experience and vast repertoire of techniques that allows her to manipulate large slabs of glass, sometimes as many as 100 to 200 sheet of glass piled up and fused to create the 3D imagery she has visualised. Based on 9 years of experimentation, Varga's multiple layers fusing technique enables her to create and gain control over the 3-dimensional images enclosed within the large transparent glass objects. The process begins with the cutting of thousands of glass elements from clear and coloured glass sheets according to complex 3-D plans. These are then fused together in stages, before they are ground and polished to reveal the finished sculpture with its fine details and veil-like structures floating in the sea of pure clear glass'. The latter extend Varga's consummate skills acquired from her long experience working with the traditional Venetian, Czech and Scandinavian glass techniques. Thus Varga extends and applies a multiplicity of glass art techniques to achieve her ends: sculptural objects of transformative allure that define - and commemorate - the emotional and geographic milestones of her life.
Her present large geometric forms express a depth of tranquillity and repose, towering and pointing vertically, yet revelling in the celebration of colour and razor-sharp patterning.
The very act of encasing monochromatic patterns within clear glass walls is itself an act of protection, of preservation: of memory, of colour and its associations, of acts of violence, of fear, and of love.
Dr Noris Ioannou: excerpt from the article "Red: Emma Varga's (glass) art & life, Craft Arts International magazine, issue #67, July 2006.
Varga's work can be found in the following collections:
National Art Glass Collection, Wagga Wagga, Australia; Australian Art Trust, Melbourne; Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection at Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; The Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Glassmuseum Ebeltoft, Denmark; The Arrango Design Foundation, Miami, USA; The Glassgallerie Immenhausen, Germany; The Interglass Symposium Collection, Czech Republic; and numerous private collections in Australia, Europe, USA, Asia and Afrika.
NOTES ON TECHNIQUE
The technique of 'multiple layers fusing' has been gradually developed by Emma Varga during the past 12 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 20-200 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.