glass, RGB LEDs steel, 10.25 x 9 inches. $1000
glass, RGB LEDs, steel, 10.25 x 9 inches. $1000
For many years, I have been creating glass “pages:” small glass panels, etched with fragments of text, and lit with LEDs – wall-mounted or on “reading” stands. Often drawn from lines of poetry, these pages occasionally accumulate to form glass “books,” but the process of engaging with a book of poems is slow, often requiring years before there are enough “pages” to constitute a bonafide “book.” So I present them as individual “pages”, or in small groupings, as my engagement with a text continues to grow.
My process starts with drawing. I think of drawing with lines of poetry as a form of drawing with light. Even before I start my drawing process, there are these lines of light, wordlight, which in some way, I import into my drawing. But not before the lines are broken into dots, or pulses, rhythmically attuned. Unlike lines, dots, with their inevitable spaces, form multiple paths – lightpaths — making vivid the shifting perspectives that haunt our readings of the world.
Glass is an ideal medium for these “pages.” As my lit glassworks show, art is both a window through which we attempt to “read” the world, and a physical vessel whose properties are crucially involved in such readings. We look both at and through these pieces, and the text/images complicate our looking. As they do, we experience a vibration between transparency and opacity (or resistance), between looking at and looking through, between image and text — and the silence that surrounds them.
I like to work in a range of scales, from large scale public projects to intimate glass “pages” of poetry fragments. All of these start with drawings, and it is through drawing that I think my way into the work’s final form, however large or small. These drawings are etched onto glass panels, and lit with LEDs (usually, RGB LEDs, which I program with colors) to create “light drawings.” Occasionally, the images are etched onto the opaque backs of mirrors, and presented in light boxes. Here the light drawings are set against a dark background, which seems to recede against the floating, dematerialized lights. The mirror pieces provide a counterpoint when shown together with my other glasswork. They add another register to the effect, present in all my work, of a vibration between opacity and transparency, looking at and looking through.
Such paradoxical looking is at play throughout my latest solo exhibition, a large-scale, 6-month, multi-site exhibition, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the New York Public Library. In its array of visual “stories,” Storylights celebrated this magnificent building, which I like to think of as a giant vessel of ever-proliferating stories, and ever-shifting perspectives.
Many pieces in Storylights were placed in windows (on 5th Avenue & 40th Street). The opportunity, in this and other projects, to light up the streets of NYC with non-commercial installations is a great source of joy for me. Previous projects have included: a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Manhattan Bridge in the windows of an historic arts/community center, and an exhibition in the windows of New York’s immigration museum.
My work has been exhibited in numerous galleries in New York City and elsewhere – among them, Central Booking – and in large-scale solo shows in colleges. One of these, my most extensive experiment with “glass books,” consisted exclusively of work created from poetic texts, including a 16 page “book” from the poems of David Weiss. On every scale, and in multiple ways, my work reflects my fascination with working across artistic boundaries.