Today is a snow day. Where I grew up in Vermont, snow days equaled no school days. They also equaled go outside and play days. Now, as an adult living here, I’m an artist who is obsessed with glass.
Water and glass have so many similar characteristics. They can be liquid and solid; they are transparent and exist as strange shapeshifters who are affected by temperature. The very first glass project I ever made were glass teardrops frozen and suspended in cylinders of ice. The relationship between these materials is something that many artists have played with.
So for all you snow day stay-at-homers I thought I’d put together a list of 5 pieces of art that talk about ice, snow and glass. Enjoy this reprieve from regular life, make time to appreciate the cover of white, and relish in an art break:
1. Dale Chihuly, Israel series of blocks of ice. This guy is probably the most famous glass artist in the world. If you didn’t already know, he’s coming here to Hampton Roads! “Bluebeard’s Castle,” an opera that opens with the Virginia Arts Festival the spring, has his sets, and the Chrysler Museum of Art will have an installation of his work in the garden. The similarity between glass and ice is not lost on him, and in one of his most poetic series he created these walls in Israel:
2. Jocelyne Prince catalogues the effect of temperature change on the surface of molten glass. In these works she is, in a very knowing way, talking about temperature change and how this marks on the surface of the glass. She created this large glass slide library cataloguing the ways in which different objects (including ice) leave patterns in the surface when pressed against hot glass. Jocelyn has been a performer at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio and has a performance at Urban Glass in Brooklyn the first week in March.
Jocelyne Prince, THAW: a wasting disease, artist’s studio, Providence, RI, 1997. Photo: Jocelyne Prince
3. April Surgent, work from Antarctica residency. April wrote and received a grant to go on an expedition to Antarctica. She based her proposal off of a vase in the Chrysler Museum’s collection, aptly titled the “Antarctic Vase.” While there she created works with pinhole cameras that tracked the motion of the sun in the sky and engraved the images out of glass.
Decadal Time Scale – 19.875 x 30.25 x 2 inches installed
4. Tavares Strachan. This artist who often uses glass is originally from the Bahamas. He decided to come make a historical recreation of an ice cap and bring it back to his native land, keeping it perpetually frozen in time.
Tavares Strachan (born Nassau, the Bahamas, 1979). The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project), 2004−8. Ice, refrigeration unit, solar panels, battery system. Lent by the artist, Pierogi 2000, and Ronald Feldman Fine Art.
5. Josh Dewall, staff instructor at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio. Mr. Dewall created a performance for one of our Third Thursday events in which he created glass bones and froze them into blocks of ice. To watch the full performance, click here:
And, just as an added bonus, I have to give props to Winston Bentley from my home state of Vermont. He devoted his entire life just to taking pictures of snowflakes from the shack in the backyard of his family farm. These are still some of the most beautiful photographs I have ever seen.
Wilson A. Bentley, Untitled Snowflake, gelatin silver print, ca. 1920.