Galia Amsel is a contemporary New Zealand glass artist. She was born in London in 1967 and graduated with first class honours in ceramics and glass from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1989. She then attended the Royal College of Art in London. By the time of her immigration to New Zealand in 2003, Amsel was already highly acclaimed in her field.
Amsel’s work is characterised by simple forms and often vibrant colours, features she attributes to the years she lived in Hong Kong as a child and young teenager. It can be separated into two very different styles: some pieces are curved and organic in form; others are strictly geometric and architecturally inspired. In the latter, Amsel contrasts the solidity of her forms with skillfully worked surface details, but it is the gently curling shapes for which she has become best known.
Although Amsel has worked with blown glass in the past, she now focuses primarily upon casting.
Amsel has exhibited in Australia, Britain, France, Spain, Ireland, the United States, the Netherlands and New Zealand and is represented in many major art collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand.
Central to Amsel’s work is a sweeping, circular form, which often transitions from dark to light, or opaque to translucent. This circle represents a cycle – the passage of time captured through light, colour and pattern. In this exhibition, works such as Rekindle and Happen are meditations on this passing time, evoking the cyclical nature of a changing season or the rise and fall of the sun. Graduated opacity and colour are increasingly prominent in these works, bringing with them a poetic sense of emerging from darkness into the light. The landscape and environment have also become a recurring theme of Amsel’s work; drawing the circle into a more elongated form and using colour and movement to create an atmospheric sense of time and place.