Charlotte Potter and Erica Rosenfeld seek answers to these questions through their art. In Cloud + Ashes, an exhibition running until December 5 at Lorrie Saunders’ ArtGallery, the glass duo illustrates their interpretations of memory.
Detail L: Rosenfeld’s “Black Cloud” 2013, Blown and Carved Glass, 22″ x 60″ x 10″
Detail R: Potter’s “Threshold,” 2014, Handmade Fiber Optic Glass, 61″ x 27″ (Image by Echard Wheeler)
The idea of ‘collecting memories’ becomes tangible, as memories are conceptualized as wearable materials. Charlotte Potter’s ‘Mourning Jewelry’ consists of cremated ashes, glass, and metal, inviting the viewer to an intimate preservation of loss. With Charlotte’s mourning pieces, we see the isolation of a memory. The singleness of jewelry allows us to prioritize a past event and perpetuate its prevalence while worn.
Following an act of adornment is Charlotte’s ‘Weight of Lost Friendship’ [below, image by artist]. Gallery owner Lorrie Saunders suggested that it be displayed less like jewelry and more like sculpture. The resulting effect is akin to a chandelier, creating a relationship between preconceived notions of what we wear and what we observe. As Saunders pointed out to me, the cameo depicting hands atop the piece appears to be holding the structure together – a reminder that all these faces were connected through one person. A dialogue ignites between ‘Weight of Lost Friendship’ and ‘Mourning Jewelry.’ Here we examine current and former relationships, and are urged to examine the role we play between those connections. Both jewelry installations, these works offer reflections and commentaries on faded connections.
At the show’s entrance is ‘The Space Between’ – collaboration between long-time friends Potter and Suzanne Peck. Pictures of the two women were stretched, fired, and sliced to create a stunning array of glass threads marching across the wall as miniature portraits. ‘Space Between’ celebrates a shared theme amongst the artists of interconnectivity. As their faces merge together, the viewer is reminded how we often take after those with whom we spend the most time.
For Erica Rosenfeld, the question of not so much what we remember but how we remember is interpreted in her aesthetic. As we go through memories, they’re often more romanticized than the actual events. Rosenfeld’s fanciful sculptures reference the blurred reality of the past, and how we often view it with rose-colored glasses. Her mindset is clearly communicated in her signature piece: ‘Like Remembering a Dream the Day After.’ A work titled ‘Black Cloud’, formed of blown glass, stretches across the wall, bubbling with a sense of unknown foreboding experienced in dreams. The ‘Reclaimed Eggs’ piece and moss hill along the ground illustrate the playful way dreaming allows us to try on different realities. The carbon fruit littering the ground left me full of questions. Why is it there? Why fruit? How did it become like this? Those questions mimic waking up from a dream and not understanding what in the world just happened to you.
Viewing Rosenfeld’s work is just like stepping into a dream. The blend of mystery and whimsy creates a visual dream sequence; her penchant for imagination is displayed in her wearable art. Blending materials and design elements, Rosenfeld crafts jewelry that encourages the wearer to be just as bold.
Nearby is Potter’s ‘Family Tree,’ easily my favorite work of hers in this show. Like ‘Lost Friendship,’ we are presented with a structural adornment that communicates beyond its elegant drapery. The cameo family portraits are held in place by tubing spouts used in extracting syrup from maple trees – a nod to Potter’s Vermont origins. Shadows behind the cameo medallions add a lifelike dimension, and the family depicted becomes at once present to the viewer. But beyond this elaborate sculpture are the illustrations of relationships and the interconnectedness of life. One medallion would not be able to hang without its relational chain.
Cloud + Ashes is a welcome escape from reality and will leave you with a desire to better relationships before they become only memories.
The show ends on Monday, Nov 24th with a Closing + Gallery Chat. For more info on ArtGallery, click here.