GLASS IS MY MATERIAL NOT MY TRADITION Glass as a material holds unlimited conceptual potential for me. Duchamp understood this when he abandoned the materiality of the linen canvas and embraced glass as a transparent support on which he could suspend his thought processes, hence eliminating the implied figure ground relationship of canvas and replacing it with the possibility of suspending thoughts, ideas and images.
The idea of suspending thought within transparency has always propelled me. Finding my place between the technical challenges that glassmaking necessitates and the very real conceptual potential of the material has come to a moment of clarity and fruition in my art making process. Some of this clarity comes from pinpointing Duchamp's use of glass, but the other major source of focus has come from looking at the use of glass within science, specifically within the field of optics.
Ear Level, shown here as part of the Curiosities exhibition at the Corning Museum 2007.
SUBJECTIVE SCIENCE/OBJECTIVE CRAFT The 19th and 20th centuries brought with them a dialogue that revolved around the objective lens of the camera, microscope, telescope and other scientific devices that produced impartial, empirical readings, as opposed to the subjective musings of the hand and eye of previous centuries. Juxtaposing preconceptions of objectivity from science with the subjectivity of the human hand or eye proposes an interesting intersection.
My exploration is informed by the conceptual and artistic possibilities made available by our perceptions of scientific glass as an icon of objectivity and by contrasting that with our reading of traditional handcrafted glass as decorative, personal and subjective. This research has lead me to develop pseudo-scientific processes that regard molten glass as medium with which to record information-like a receptive 3D photographic film capturing physical and causal change. This receptive glass skin also functions as a metaphor for the body. The objective subverts the subjective, and vice versa.
Detail of Slide Library: Water splash series
THE BARELY TANGIBLE The use of thermal, torsional or vibrational stresses on this receptive hot glass skin/body creates cause and effects scenarios. These invisible stresses evoke similar effects on the human body. In both cases there is often a physical manifestation of the stresses, however subtle or intangible. For example, in Chill Mark thermal stress is caused by putting molten glass in contact with precisely heated or cooled steel, in Slide Library hot blown glass is splashed with water, put in contact with precisely heated and cooled objects or dipped in vibrating liquid tin, or in Sound Piece sound waves are projected into a hot vessel filled with molten glass. The results are scars, cracks, strains and striations.
My work thrives in recording these barely tangible events that become embedded in the structure of the glass, floating information if you will, imaged and catalyzed by light. The seeming nothingness of these obscure recordings is true to the material in terms of cause and effect and they are true to my interests in capturing the sublime and the elusive.