For many years, Cathryn Shilling has been fascinated by kinesics or the study of body language by which humans subconsciously transmit and receive non-verbal communication. These physical expressions may reveal our true feelings by signaling the difference between what we say and what we mean. Body posture and the position of a person in relation to others is an important indicator of feelings, attitudes and moods.
Shilling’s most recent body of work, Cloaked, further explores the relationship between fabric and the human form. “Clothing conveys so many things. Not only does it provide protection against the elements, it also broadcasts our position and identity within society, as well as reflects our mood and emotional state.” Shilling’s sculpture investigates these themes as well as the numerous associated misconceptions and judgments we are all guilty of making.
An internationally renowned glass artist living and working in London, Shilling began her career as a graphic designer, graduating from Central School of Art and Design in London, and working as a designer until her family’s move to the US in 2001. Prompted to pursue a new and exciting creative direction, the artist studied the art and craft of stained glass in Connecticut. Upon her return to London in 2004, she switched her focus to kiln formed glass and also became a student of blown glass at Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing Studio. In 2009 she established a studio near her home, and the following year became curator at London Glassblowing.
Shilling’s work has been collected and widely exhibited internationally, including: Ireland Glass Biennale 2019 at Dublin Castle; The 3rd Session of China·Hejian Craft Glass Design & Creation Exhibition and Competition, Ming Shangde Glass Museum, Cangzhou City, Hebei Province, China, 2019; TACTILE at Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium; New Acquisitions, 2017 at Glasmuseum Lette, Coesfield, Germany; Peter Bremers & Cathryn Shilling: A Two Person Exhibition at Schiepers Gallery in Belgium; The CGS Jubileum 20th Anniversary Exhibition at Etienne Gallery, Oisterwijk, Netherlands; The Taos Art Glass Invitational New Mexico, USA; BODYTALK at the Glasmuseet, Ebletoft, Denmark; COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery with London Glassblowing and Vessel Gallery; East-West Artists Exhibitions in Kyoto, Japan and London; Hot Glass at Contemporary Applied Arts, London; Collective Genius at Vessel Gallery, London.
Exhibitions also include the British Glass Biennale in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, when her collaboration with Anthony Scala won the Craft & Design Award, and 2019. Shilling has twice exhibited as a finalist in the Emerge juried kiln glass exhibition at Bullseye Projects, Portland, Oregon. In 2013, the artist took home the international Warm Glass Artists Prize and has twice been nominated for the SUWA Garasuno-Sato Glass Prize and several times for the Arts & Crafts Design Award. In 2015 she was ranked number 4 in the Glassation list of “The Most Game Changing Female Glass Artists” and number 25 in the Graphic Design Hub’s list of “The 30 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive Today.” The artist’s work was represented in the Corning Museum of Glass’ New Glass Review 33, and in 2018 she was Artist in Residence at North Lands Creative, Lybster, Scotland.
In 2019, Shilling celebrated 10 years of professional practice with a solo show, Hidden Gestures, at Vessel Gallery, London. Her piece Diorama – Moonlight was recently acquired for the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Habatat Galleries Detroit. “I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this amazing collection.” Her work, The Intangibility of Sorrow, can be seen in the Contemporary Glass Society’s latest online exhibition, Reverie.
Like so many artists, Shilling’s forward momentum was halted abruptly by the Corona Virus pandemic. Many of her scheduled exhibitions and events, such as giving a talk and exhibiting at the Art Workers’ Guild during London Craft Week, will be rescheduled for the fall. Some, like her demo with glassblower Louis Thompson at the 2020 Glass Art Society Conference in Smaland, Sweden, have been cancelled altogether.
“It is rather depressing because just about everything has been cancelled or postponed. I had been looking forward to glass exhibitions taking me and my work to Sweden, Venice and New York as well as speaking at the Contemporary Glass Society Conference in Wales. All these plans have had to be shelved. However, this is all pretty insignificant when you look at the bigger picture. I am lucky enough to be able to keep making, and this gives me enormous satisfaction. I am also finding it good to have the time now to really think about my practice and try out some of the ideas that I haven’t been able to explore with so many deadlines looming. I am hopeful that 2021 will be as fabulous for me as 2020 was going to be!”
Please check all venues for the latest updates.
Sculpture at Kingham Lodge, May 8 – 17, Kingham, Oxfordshire
Sculpture at Doddington Hall & Gardens, July 25 – September 6, Doddington, Lincolnshire
The Devil’s In The Detail, a two-person show with Anthony Scala, October 23 – November 7, London Glassblowing, London
Glass Is Biotiful, date to be confirmed, Biot, France
Homo Faber 2020, September 10 – October 11, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
From Many, One 1, October 1 – November 6, Culture Object, New York, USA