Jessica Loughlin on the virtues of stillness


Over the last 20 years, Jessica Loughlin has explored the idea of stillness through glass. Her minimalistic kiln-formed works interact with light to create moments of emptiness, asking the viewer to pause for a moment and simply look. Of Light showcases Loughlin’s career as JamFactory’s Icon for 2022, an annual merit bestowed upon one maker each year. While the show includes older glass works never before exhibited in Australia, there are new pieces too.

Loughlin takes continual inspiration from the physical world. “Anywhere north in South Australia is so huge and so empty of objects that the landscape becomes light,” she says. “I use my experience of being in landscape to work out how to make something that communicates that one aim of creating stillness.”

Loughlin’s technical fascination with glass provides constant new ways to work with the medium—different forms of glass yield different results. “Some lights just appear white, and yet when you look more and more closely, you notice colours,” she says. “I really like that subtlety, and playing with light and material, but also playing with perception and questioning what we’re seeing.”

Working with glass for so long, the artist sees it now as a language with many interpretations and possibilities. “I’m starting to really understand what it is that I’m attracted to about my topic,” she says. “In my really early work, I was using the idea of a horizon line almost as an image to represent an idea—I was understanding the feeling I was trying to get in my work, but I wasn’t understanding the language to be able to create that. Over time, I’ve really understood what it is I’m trying to do within my work, and being able to isolate that a little bit better.”

Of Light
Jessica Loughlin
JamFactory Adelaide
15 July—18 September

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen