Gill Gatfield has received Merit Honours in the Public Spaces category at the Collaboration of Design and Art Awards for her installation Glass Ceiling (NZ Aotearoa).
The international CODA awards celebrate outstanding projects that integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural, or public spaces. This is the second time she’s been recognized with a CODA; in 2017 she won the Landscape category for The Kiss (AZ#71).
A play on words, Glass Ceiling (NZ Aotearoa) smashes and re-imagines the metaphorical ‘glass ceiling’ as the floor of a 30-metre-high silo was covered over half a metre deep in 16.5 tonnes of broken glass. Housed in Auckland’s Silo Park for two months earlier this year, Glass Ceiling (NZ Aotearoa) consisted of over 200 million glass fragments, which pressed against the thick concrete walls of the silo. Three glass panels kept the fragments confined but visible. They were low enough to step over, but entry (though enticing) was forbidden.
Functioning as both political allegory and a challenging sensory experience, Glass Ceiling (NZ Aotearoa) explores tensions between fear and desire, in a tantalising yet menacing visual feast. Although they may have been liberated from the ‘glass ceiling’, viewers learn that beyond it lies an even more obtrusive, solid structure to consider.
Gatfield was formerly a lawyer. Her art practice reflects her work to empower women in both the legal and art professions. Her book Without Prejudice: Women in the Law, first published in 1996, is considered a landmark feminist text.
First published ArtZone #81