Tuna Heke/Migrating Eel, 2020
cast lead crystal
80 x 600 x 1040
Photo: Grant Hancock
Established Artist Category
New Zealand-born glass artist Wendy Fairclough is based in the Adelaide Hills. She completed a Bachelor of Visual Art (Sculpture and Printmaking) (1991) and a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Glass) (2000) from the South Australian School of Art at the University of South Australia. Drawing from this background of printmaking, sculpture and applied arts, Fairclough creates compositions and installations using blown and cast glass; cast bronze and aluminium; and found objects. She focuses on what we have in common regardless of culture and religion. This focus has led her to artist residencies in China in 2018, New Zealand in 2016, and India in 2012. Previously a finalist in the inaugural 2016 FUSE Glass Prize, Fairclough was nominated for the inaugural Tom Malone Prize, awarded by the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2003. She was nominated for the Ranamok Glass Prize five times between 2002 and 2009. Fairclough has exhibited throughout Asia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Australia. Her work is represented in public collections nationally including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Australian National Art Glass Collection, Wagga Wagga, NSW; the Australian National University Collection, Canberra and the Museum of Australian Democracy, Canberra. Internationally, Fairclough’s work is held in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa), Wellington; and in the United States, at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Los Angeles.
Wendy Fairclough is represented by Sabbia Gallery, Sydney; Masterworks, Auckland, NZ; New Zealand Glassworks, Whanganui, NZ.
“I’m interested in what we humans have in common – regardless of culture, race, or religious beliefs. I’m looking for the connecting place where we can recognize our sameness. Experiences of home; sense of belonging; food; work; ritual; stories; myths; all feed my curiosity and influence what I make and what material I use to make it with. It matters deeply to me that my work is accessible to people from different walks of life and that they can bring their own meanings to it. The now endangered New Zealand tuna (Maori for longfin eel) are of great significance to Maori culturally, nutritionally and economically. Many Pakeha New Zealanders also feel a strong connection with them and almost always immediately relate a fond memory relating to them whenever mentioned. Both cultures enjoy them as a food source.”