Wheaton Exchange Fellowship
Wheaton Exchange Fellowship
Virgil Marti lives and works in Philadelphia, where for many years he has been associated with The Fabric Workshop and Museum as a master printer and project coordinator. He has exhibited extensively since the early 1990s. Among many other group exhibitions, his work was included in La Biennale de Montréal (2007), Whitney Biennial 2004 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Graphic Unconscious, Philagrafika 2010, Philadelphia, Jewel Thief at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum (2010) and Apocalyptic Wallpaper at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (1997). His recent collaborative projects and solo shows include Ah! Sunflower at the Visual Art Center, Richmond, VA (2008), Directions: Virgil Marti/Pae White at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2007), Set Pieces at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2010). His work is included in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art. He is represented by Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York.
Statement of Intent
I use the vocabulary of interior design, furniture, and the decorative arts, to create installations and sculptures that ultimately address matters that are more typically the domain of the fine arts.
As my work has evolved, I have been led to work with processes and materials that were previously unfamiliar to me. My experience as a master printer and project coordinator has played a large part in shaping this aspect of my practice. At the Fabric Workshop and Museum, my job was to help other artists realize their vision in media that were new to them. I would research materials and, when necessary, work with specialists in processes that were outside of my skill set. I really enjoy learning new processes and find the possibilities of working in new materials very inspiring.
To work in glass has long been a desire of mine. When I began making chandeliers almost 10 years ago, I was looking for a way to evoke the translucency and fragility of glass, but with a material and process that was achievable in my own studio. For a recent body of work, I wanted to achieve a mirror-like surface on what appeared to be old distressed wood. I tracked down a fabricator with the capability of chroming unusual materials and worked with him to make the pieces.
Despite my interest in the visual qualities of glass, I have never had the opportunity to work with it. I am interested in its seemingly dual-nature: the physicality of the material itself, and the ephemerality of light effects produced by it. I would love to learn its possibilities for casting and the potential for coloring and silvering it. My investigation would focus on the history of the use of glass as an architectural element, and I envision making cast reliefs that might become clerestory windows or free-standing room dividers.