"He’s a man’s man”. A phrase often heard and yet what does it mean exactly? Triggered by the extremely masculine spectacle of the recent Rugby World Cup, Graeme Hitchcock’s evocative new works in cast glass and bronze pay homage to the strong, powerful males we so openly idolise and worship as heroes here in Aoteoroa. Though not explicitly rugby players, Hitchcock’s pieces exude a physical force and determined strength, and yet there is emotion displayed in the faces and expressions of these warriors that shows that the victory was not won easily. The agony of the battle remains ingrained.
The concept of players and their spectators is further explored in this solo exhibition with Hitchcock’s already successful “Men Looking” pieces. Created in both glass and bronze, these are the men of the crowd or the street. Watching, scrutinising, absorbing the movements of others and the world around them, deep in their thoughts, somewhat distant, safely self-contained.
Graeme’s work is unusual in the world of cast glass, which is so often concerned with representations of inanimate objects. His figurative style is refreshingly individualistic and the quality found in his current work has developed out of many years of artistic practise both self-taught and learned. Accomplished in both sculpture and oil painting, this is the work of a “natural artist” whose reservoir of inspiration is vast. Of his work Graeme says “I cannot spend a day without doing something in my studio. It nags at me continuously and I get enormous pleasure out of the creative process. The Players have been a big challenge as they take a long time from start to finish and the final piece is not revealed until the end as it comes out of the kiln. Will it be a success or not. There is a lot of anticipation involved. I develop a fairly intimate relationship with each of them; they can take on personalities of their own. I love the way glass is made more wonderful by the sunlight and the men become more alive and vibrant in the process. I also particularly enjoy it when I see people moved and getting pleasure out of seeing my work. It means then, that I have done it right.”