I do not make perfect art. All of my work is done primarily on recycled materials that I clean up and recreate as artwork. Often, these materials will have small chip, scratches, or left over paint. Most of my current work has been done on old window panes. It's a lot of work to remove the putty around the pane, chisel away chunks and paint, and pop the pane out. Often, a pane will break in the process, but can usually be salvaged as a smaller piece. Sometimes I look at my hands after, red and sore from effort, scratched and dusty. I feel my shoulders sore from scrapping, my mouth dry from the dust. I don't think I'd have it any other way though. One night in particular, I was struck by this realization. I was wrapping up a piece of art to be delivered the next day, and the space I was working in was cramped at best. I was picking up a sheet of glass with a transfer on it but instead of lifting it, it gently fell forward and hit the leg of the table, cracking down the middle. I stared at it in stock. Could it be salvaged? But I knew the gallery director had selected this piece, and this crack was not part of the original intent. I rushed around and was able to complete a second transfer in time to drop it off the following evening, but int the process, it came to me:
It was a little tongue-in-cheek at the time. In a matter of a about two weeks, I had three completed pieces break on me for different reasons, a problem I hadn't experienced before. I was reconsidering my relationship with glass. I've always loved the glossy texture of glass and its cool, smooth surface. Plexi and acrylic don't quite replicate the transparent seductiveness of glass. I appreciate the greenish tint and the weight of glass, and how it doesn't scratch. The idea that glass is for windows and mirrors is an almost critical point to my work, which I feel to be a window through reality in a way. To some extent, I also admire the idea that it is so fragile. There's a certain amount of tension knowing my art is on a substrate that could break or chip if mishandled, that it could be crushed and turned to dust. I often display my work on shallow shelves so that the art leans against the wall, like it is on an easel. The shelves are sturdy, but it gives the piece a feeling of balancing. It won't fall, but it could. We won't die today. But we could. The world is a fragile place.
So I continue my affair with glass and all its cuts, breaks, and shine. I'm working on finding something to do with the broken pieces, but for now, I continue with the ones that are whole.
In other news, I have a piece in the New Hampshire Art Association show. Opens Friday! 5-7pm in Portsmouth.