Consistent with earlier work, Woffenden engages with the psychology of the body - how ideas imagined can become real, the ways emotions are conveyed through gesture… A robotic quality is present in their manufacture, but her elegant sculptures convey their corporeal nature in a visceral manner. Balance of power is once more at play and creates an air of storytelling that runs throughout the exhibition; figures are active and passive, restrained but also expressive. In recent work a midwife stands as a distant sentinel to a male figure giving birth, this upturning of ritual tackles subjects such as gender and value, but with a sense of hope, and humour.
A strong character of form and specialist knowledge of glassmaking is powerfully evident in this series, but the search for freedom amid learned skills gives a lightness and fragility to the pieces. Forms ‘stolen’ from historical moulds are cut up, change media and reused. Woffenden creates a fragmented and collaged environment - beings and their detritus occupy the gallery space in which scale, medium, photographic and drawn evidence highlight the origins and process behind this captivating show.
EMMA WOFFENDEN studied at West Surrey College of Art and Design and The Royal College of Art. She employs a full range of complex glass and mixed media techniques to make works that explore the power of myth and archetypes. The influences of social structures and the dynamics of power relations on the individual imbue her sculpture with a palpable sense of internal conflict. Woffenden’s uncanny forms trespass upon the viewer’s imagination, casting an oblique light on the human condition.
Widely recognised as one of Britain's leading glass artists, her work is included in a number of international public collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Wellcome Trust and the Crafts Council, London and Ernsting Glass Museum, Germany. Her award-winning designs for Transglass can be found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Corning Museum of Glass, New York. She was appointed North Lands Creative Glass Artistic Director in October 2013.