Friday, February 27, 2009

glassy eyed

I read a great review today for Los Angeles-based artist Katherine Gray's first solo show, "It’s a Very Deadly Weapon to Know What You’re Doing,” at the Acuna-Hansen Gallery. Though Gray typically blows her own glass, the exhibit consists of glittering, eye candy sculptures made from pre-existing glassware, both found and thrift store purchased.

Gray's work is historic and socially-minded in nature. She responds to glass as a traditional craft through her reimagination of its place in modern art through minimalist constructions emphasizing form versus void and line quality. Yet, she also uses the medium as a testament to the form and ensuing void that marks the current state of our natural resources - the delicate and fragile quality of our environment. Gray's Forest Glass refers to 'waldglas', or Northern European Midieval glass, which was characterized by green and brown tints from the local raw materials used in the glass-making process. These glass factories were located in forests for easy access to, and ultimately were responsible for the depletion of, timber to fire the furnaces. As LA Times reviewer Holly Myers described, Gray's exhibit "draws on present-day notions of reuse and recycling to posit a clever sort of reforestation."

...nobody puts it more poignantly than Gray herself:
"Because skill is a trap, because the promise has faded, because no one told me about that trap, because our society is increasingly about the simulated experience, because creating is destroying, because we haven't learned from our mistakes, because it is all coming to an end, because I am out of sync, because objects are our history. And because glass is devastatingly beautiful."

Sadly, found object art certainly has a new relevance and a remergence since Marcel Duchamps original conception. But there's a haunting beauty in the creation that emerges from destruction.
For more, check out one of my favorite found object artists, Stuart Haygarth.

Stay tuned in late April 2009, when Katherine Gray's exhibition will travel to the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA.

No comments: