18 November 2020

"Spilling Jets" - Simon Lewis Wards

375 glass jumbo jets installation at Sylvia Park

The Work

We all remember that feeling of excitement and anticipation, running down to the dairy with a handful of coins to buy a 50c mixture. The lollies, in a scrunched up white paper bag, would bring so much joy. Artist Simon Lewis Wards has recreated iconic New Zealand candy in different forms, extracting that childhood emotion from people of all walks of life. For Wards, the jewel in the crown of the 50c mix was the jet plane. Wards masterfully hand casts his jets in glass, deliciously recreating their iconic angular form and bright translucence. Wards has always wanted to exhibit the jets en-masse, to multiply their feeling like a big bag of them would for a kid. Here he reimagines his very first sculpture on a grand scale; 375 glass jumbo jets tumbling through the air like a freeze frame from a fantasy, resonating with the kid in all of us.



Ceiling above Zara

The Artist

Simon Lewis Wards is a sculptor based in Auckland, New Zealand. He works predominantly in ceramics and cast glass and is best known for his playful interpretations of iconic New Zealand candy. Wards has developed a body of work that seeks to inspire a sense of childlike excitement, oscillating between nostalgia and pop-culture, and often playing with scale to enhance the viewing experience. Wards’ first foray into glass was in his teens, when he left high school and started working with a friend’s father who was an early pioneer of the glass art movement in NZ. The idea for Wards’ first sculpture came from the glass itself, when he noticed how much the raw material looked like a glistening jube lolly. Over the years he has developed his skill set to include glass casting, ceramics, cast concrete and stained-glass techniques. He has set up a studio in a repurposed vineyard high in the Waitakere ranges, where he works from today.