Galia Amsel was born in London in 1967 and by the time of her emigration to New Zealand in 2003 was already a highly acclaimed glass artist. Amsel has exhibited in Britain, France, Spain, Ireland, the United States, the Netherlands and New Zealand and is represented in many major art collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum (United Kingdom), the Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts (Canada), Glassammiung Ersting (Germany), the Ulster Museum (Ireland), the Chrysler Museum of Art (United States), the Corning Museum of Glass (United States), and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (New Zealand).
Amsel’s work is characterised by simple forms and often vibrant colours, features she attributes to the years she lived in Hong Kong as a child and young teenager. In her curved and circular forms the fluid shape of the vacant space is as important as that of the glass itself, while in her more static, straight-edged works the solidity of form is contrasted with fine surface details. Although Amsel has worked with blown glass in the past, she now focuses primarily upon casting.
Amsel has recently been reminded of the New Zealand she and her husband encountered when they first arrived from London almost 20 years ago. She’s always been struck by the clean air and the quality of light. The way sunlight can catch the rain, has inspired the textures on many of her pieces. She polishes the flecked highlights on her work to reflect the way the light dances and brings forms to life. Amsel’s work attempts to capture fleeting moments, such as moment, tension, balance, rhythm, and more recently emotion. Amsel’s pieces are constructed, cast, and finished to replicate this energy. The heating, cooling of molten glass makes it the perfect medium to develop these ideas.