Sue Schiepers Gallery meets Christine Vanoppen and Wouter Bolangier

Till the 21rst of December Gallery Sue Schiepers in Hasselt features two artists who both make a very bold statement in glass art with unique techniques, shapes and forms in their creations: Christine Vanoppen and Wouter Bolangier.

Article by Hans Knol ten Bensel

Faithful readers have already experienced in these columns our love for contemporary glass art, and more especially the unique approach of Hasselt based Sue Schiepers Gallery in bringing the pinnacle of this artistic craft to a wide(r) public.

Glass art by Wouter Boulangier.

This time Sue Schiepers truly delighted us again with two artists who both make a very bold statement in glass art with unique techniques, shapes and forms in their creations. “Both artists – Christine Vanoppen and Wouter Bolangier come as it were from the same stable”, Sue Schiepers tells us. “They both studied monumental arts at the Antwerp Academy, both are also teachers of their glass art.”

Christine Vanoppen.

Christine Vanoppen’s work spans a wide range of application areas, and she extends her boundaries ever further, whereby she is experimenting with various techniques and materials. Christine draws her inspiration from both architectural and nature structures. She often plays with dualities: open versus closed; hold or expose; hide or reveal. All her creations bear the stamp of high technical quality and breathe a pronounced personal aesthetic beauty. With her intense research and constant experiments she ensures that her visual language is constantly evolving. We spoke with her at the vernissage in Schiepers Gallery, where we got for the first time acquainted with her work. She is an independent artist, works also on large projects, where she designs the glass sculpture or (large) glass artwork, which is then executed by a Glass Studio in German Paderborn, Glasmalerei Peeters. She executed many large projects, just to name a few in 2019: Project for St. John’s college in Meldert (B), Project for Municipal Primary school in Gierle (B), Project for the Paderborn University in Paderborn (D).

Some of her larger works are very spatial and aetheric, like a sculpture using small tubes of Borosilicate or so-called laboratoriom quality Pyrex glass, which are molten together.

But there are other, smaller and very creative glass art crafts too, like where Christine Vanoppen started with woven nets, where then glass was blown in, so the whole creation takes the form of a fish trap, a very intriguing shape. It should be noticed that some of this work is bought by the Danish “Glasmuseet” in Ebeltoft for its glass art collection.

Besides her activities as an independent artist, she is a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts – Department Glass Art in Berchem, Antwerp, Belgium. She finds the combination very satisfying, as she can pass on her experience(s) as an artist to her students. She offers them all the techniques pertaining to glass sculpture and art. “My work contains also much graphic elements. I started my artistic career as a draftsman, and this graphic element transpires in my individual objects as well as large(r) projects”, Vannoppen tells us.

The work of Wouter Bolangier is also quite graphic, but instead of lines, he concentrates on circles. l. His work is also quite pure, and steers away from unnecessary ornamentation. But it is also quite colourful. The circular works displayed on the wall(s) turn around cosmos. The sculptural elements like the large glass cups here evoke an imaginary milk way. The works on the wall evoke a circumstellar, which is a specific composition of planets in space around a sun. I was born under or surrounded by glass, as my father was a fruit tree grower, and soon I learned to cut glass panels of the greenhouses, and I was fascinated by glass. It holds a fourth dimension, as one can see through it and see as well the front as the back side of a glass object. And this fourth dimension then leads us again to the cosmos.

Wouter Bolangier has his workshop in Erpe Mere, and all the “cold” aspects are dealt with there. The “hot” part is executed in the Czech Republic. “Since 25 years I have a five head team there. So it starts with an individual drawing, and then becomes the work of a group of people. It then becomes an individual work again when I make the finishing touches in my atelier”, Wouter tells us.

We show you here some photos of the work of both artists. This exhibition at Schiepers Gallery runs until December 21st.

Schiepers Gallery, Dokter Willemsstraat 30, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium,

Open From Thursday to Saturday, from 2 pm to 6 pm. Every first Sunday of the month, from noon to 4 p.m. Or by appointment. – 0032 (0)476 968806

In cooperation with publishing house “Stichting Kunstboek”, Christine Vanoppen will publish the hard-cover book “Glassworks” in 2019. (Bookstore price : € 39.90)


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