Emma Varga: Fire - Water - Life

Dec 16, 2023 to Mar 17, 2024

Image: Emma Varga. Revival 20-21-22, 2022, glass / pâte de verre, fused, slumped


Fire – Water – Life, celebrates the career and virtuosity of esteemed glass artist Emma Varga.

This current body of work reflects the past twelve years of Varga’s research into environmental issues, where she seeks to communicate the beauty and fragility of our natural environment. In this exhibition Varga’s considers major global warming events; such as bushfire, coral reef bleaching and polar ice melts as a means to heighten our awareness on their devastating impact.

Born in Yugoslavia, the artist settled in Australia thirty years ago, where she has contributed to the development of art glass in Australia while continuing to exhibit internationally. The artist is widely recognized for the creation of three dimensional images using a multiple layer fusing technique, examples of which are found in the National Art Glass collection.

Emma Varga’s art glass works are highly complex creations requiring immense technical skill. Varga first cuts thousands of glass pieces from clear and transparent coloured glass sheets. These are then combined with glass frits and stringers to create a three-dimensional piece. They are fused together in stages, a process that takes two weeks to fire and slowly cool. The works take a further two weeks to grind and polish each piece to perfection allowing the fine details trapped to be seen.

In early stages of her career in Europe, Varga participated in landmark exhibitions such as the 1st ‘Coburger Glaspreis’ 1977 and ‘New Glass’ in Corning 1979, ‘Vicointer’ in Valencia 1983, ‘Contemporary European Sculpture in Glass’ in Liege 1989, as well as in 3rd & 4th ‘Interglass Symposium’ in Novy Bor (Czech Republic) in 1988 and 1991. In recent years Emma Varga’s work has been consistently shown in exhibitions in Australia, as well as in the United States, Europe and South East Asia.

This exhibition is supported by CreateNSW