Broken liquid: A look at Ben Young's ethereal ocean-influenced glass designs

Due to spending most a lot of his spare time on the ocean in either a boat or on a surfboard, Bay of Plenty born-and-raised, self-taught sculptor Ben Young's glass formations are visibly and inextricably tied to his love of the sea. His solo exhibition, 'Little Worlds', is running at Black Door Gallery in Auckland for one more week. 

Each of Young's sculptures are hand drawn, cut and crafted from a clear sheet of glass, then laminated layer upon layer to reach the final form. He decides on the complexity of each piece during the planning phase, and says he ruminates on it for a while before starting the actual design. 

After playing with templates, making custom jigs and cutting the layers, he then does a sketch by hand to create a plan. 

"I work with 2D shapes and have to figure out how to translate that into a 3D finished piece. Sometimes my starting point changes dramatically as I have to find a way to layer the glass to create certain shapes," he says.

"The way I use the glass enables me to portray so many different elements of my conceptual ideas. Lighting plays a large part in the presentation of my pieces. When lit from beneath, the light reflects and gives off the illusion of the piece being brought to life. I hope viewers might imagine the work as something 'living' that creates the illusion of space, movement, depth and sense of spatial being. I like to play with the irony between the glass being a solid material and how I can form such natural and organic shapes."

Young's work also uses industrial materials to contrast the organic glass shapes, with concrete being a favourite go-to. Small bronze carvings that initially sculpted from wax feature in several of the landscapes to further the narrative (like adding in a person).

To see more of his work, head to his website, or catch his exhibition at Black Door Gallery in Auckland. 

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