On August 14th, Australian artist Tom Moore was awarded the 2013 Ramanok Glass Prize for his piece entitled Massive Microscopic Bud. A Canberra, Australia-native, Moore graduated from the Glass Workshop at the Canberra School of Art (now part of Australia National University). He has been production manager at the Jam Factory in Adelaide for over a decade, and, in his own work, frequently explores a tension between nature and industry in allegorical tableaus.
The Ranamok Prize, now in its 19th year, is awarded to Australian and New Zealand glass artists in recognition of “innovation, excellence and imagination in the execution of a submitted piece,” according to a prepared statement announcing the prize. Throughout the region, it is known as a milestone in an glass artists’ career. The $15,000 AUD/$13.705 USD award was created in 1994 by Andy Plummer and artist/art dealer Maureen Cahill to promote glass art in the public eye. This year’s panel of judges including the deputy director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Anne Flanagan.
With a maudlin sense of humor, Moore’s piece depicts a glass head filled with a potpourri of contents that is representative of imagination and creativity itself. It functions as a type of aquarium in which every single piece, whether inanimate or animate, seems to be alive. Because there is no distinction between what is living and what isn’t, the piece has a simultaneously child-like and grotesque quality to it. Massive Microscopic Bud beat out 20 finalists, including contemporaries Mark Ammerman, who created a series of seven bowls made from recycled, industrial glass, and Kayo Yokoyama, whose piece A Place Called Home is evocative of an hourglass. An official judges’ statement praised Moore’s work for its “witty, layered narratives and references to museums and collecting.”
Moore described the piece, one of the largest he has ever taken on, as striving “to unify themes that have engaged [his] creative practice since the beginning,” in a prepared statement. Only in his early 40s, Moore has had numerous exhibitions throughout Australia and has even done a documentary on glassmaking for ABC Television.
Moore’s piece, Massive Microscopic Bud, will be on tour throughout Australia and New Zealand until March 2014.
Watch a video of Moore in action: