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Giles Bettison: Pattern and Perception
Giles Bettison: Pattern and Perception
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Giles Bettison: Pattern and Perception

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Giles Bettison: Pattern and Perception written by Margot Osborne, and published by Wakefield Press.


Giles Bettison's fascination with creating complex chromatic patterns in glass is inspired by sources in the visible world, and driven by a desire to reach out and engage the viewer's perception of beauty at an intuitive sensory level. He has said, 'Almost always, in everything, I aim for beauty and visual intrigue'. His contemporary reinvention of the ancient technique of murrine glass as a vehicle for his distinctive creative language has earned him international acclaim. In murrine Giles Bettison found an abstract glass language in which he could visualise his perceptions of beauty in everyday life.

Author Margot Osborne has worked in close collaboration with the artist to draw out his underlying aesthetic philosophy and trace the evolution of his use of murrine glass over the past two decades. In so doing she makes connections between his approach to pattern, and contemporary scientific approaches to understanding how the mind perceives colour, pattern and complexity.

Giles Bettison burst onto the international glass arena in the mid 1990s as a young glass artist, newly emerged from the famed glass program at Australian National University, Canberra. Within two years of graduating he was honoured with the 1999 Urban Glass New York Award for New Talent and was picked up for representation by major private galleries in the USA and Europe. In his book Artists in Glass (2001), studio glass authority Dan Klein praised Bettison as 'one of the great practitioners of today', who had 'more or less reinvented the ancient Venetian tradition of incorporating murrine into glass vessels'. Since the late 1990s, Bettison has exhibited most frequently overseas, where his glass has entered private and public collections. Yet until now, his achievements have received less recognition in Australia.

After several years working from a studio in New York, Adelaide-born Bettison returned to South Australia in 2004 to re-establish his studio in Adelaide. His glass is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and in museum collections in America and Europe.

This book, commissioned by the South Australian Living Artists Festival and Arts South Australia, is the first monograph on the glass art of Giles Bettison.

Margot Osborne is a writer, art critic, curator and art historian. She has contributed widely to Australian art journals and newspapers since the 1980s. She was guest editor of two issues of Artlink magazine: Art/Mind/Beauty (vol 20 #2 2008), and Art/Pattern/Complexity (vol 32 #1 2012). Her three previous books were Jeff Mincham: Ceramics, Living Treasures Masters of Australian Craft series (Object and Craftsman House, Sydney, 2009), Australian Glass Today (Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2005), and Nick Mount: Incandescence, SALA monograph (Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2002).

Margot Osborne lives in Adelaide, South Australia, where she is completing a PhD in the Department of Art History, University of Adelaide, on patterns of collecting twentieth-century British art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.