Wilma van Rees

About my work


After I graduated in the broad field of Fine Arts, I found my way to the small domain of glass engraving. Engraving in glass is a technique very close to my own imaginary language. The diamond wheels on the lathe are like paintbrushes to the painter. Working in relief is like working on the border of two and three dimensionalities. It is an exciting space with constantly asking myself which way to go; deeper in the glass or just the illusion of depth.
Glass engraving has different possibilities to work in relief, very lightly in the surface in transparent colors or in depth in opaque colors. Cameo glasswork is part of the last form. Mostly it is done with white opaque glass on a dark background. This technique goes back to the Roman Art in the beginning of our era.
It is actually very similar to high relief and bas relief in sculpture. Both forms of engraving are for me a way of translating paintings into sculpture on this very small level of relief. They are very suitable for expressing myself and my love for making portraits.
I made a series of ovals in colored glass in which I just touched the surface lightly to remove some color to come to the right feeling for the portraits. It is a game of lighter and darker colors. In my cameo bowl is a relief in white that gives its own game of light and shadow.

A basic value for mankind to me is the equality of people. By making every portrait in the same oval framework I try to emphasize on this equality instead of polarizing “them and us” like the media seems to do so often. How different everybody is should not matter. I wish everybody would be looked at with an open mind. It feels like this can’t be said enough and these portraits feels like an ongoing series to be made.
The cameo bowl (‘In Transit’) also has a diversity of portraits. It is made after the horrific pictures in the media about immigrants in eastern Europe travelling by train. Travelling is of all times and I still believe in a melting pot. I tried to show people ‘just’ travelling as normal as possible.

My other works are blown forms which includes the Graal technique. This technique of glassblowing is a long and difficult process. Lots of things can go wrong. In the beginning one ball of glass must be turned inside out onto another ball to get the layer of color transferred to the outside. After cooling down this colored blank can be engraved and reheated to blow it into its final form. I, as the creator, have to be focused the whole time to get it to a good ending.
These blown glassworks develop in a total different way than the portraits. While making the portraits the feeling comes from within to be able to make the work, technique follows. With glassblowing in Graal technique the act comes from within and a rather philosophical attitude fits the job. Technique is more important and I work more on intuition with only a direction to go to. The result comes into existence in action.


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