In the Museum of American Glass exhibit, Collecting & Connecting, QR codes are provided on the labels for the pieces below to see videos of the creative process and performances associated with the works.
WTF Interference, 2019
During his Creative Glass Fellowship in 2019, Robert Beck created WTF Interference, part of a series of plates produced for his Photosynthetic Image Generation (P.I.G.) project. The work is a transparent sheet of glass with a high-relief design formed by printing and fusing layers of black powdered glass (frit). Combining his knowledge of printmaking and photography, Beck uses the plate as a tool to create prints with living organisms. He places the sheet of glass in a tub of water atop a textile substrate already seeded with cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). When exposed to sunlight over time, photosynthesis occurs, and the algae begin to grow around the pattern, filling the negative space. When the glass is removed, the print remains. Beck’s experimental and multidisciplinary process reiterates the versatility of glass as a scientific and artistic medium.
Don’t Say (that things are), 2019
Romina Gonzales’s Don’t Say is an ongoing performance series she began in 2013 at Pilchuck and has continued at other studios. During the performance, she attaches a large gather of hot glass to a punty and “mops” the dirt, dust, and glass debris from the studio floor. She then shapes the mop into a round “color bar.” Each bar is labeled with the date and location of the collected dirt. Later, she uses the overlay method to encase the dirt-colored glass in colorless glass and transforms it into safe, functional vessels. In the artist’s words, Don’t Say is “a self-referential purification ritual. A reflection on ingrained notion, bias, and subjectivity. A reminder of essence.” As a Creative Glass Fellow, Gonzales performed her site-specific work at WheatonArts in 2019.
Glass Horns from Phantom Frequencies Performance, 2019
Martha McDonald and Laura Baird
Mixed media performance artists Martha McDonald and Laura Baird participated in Emanation 2019, an exhibition where invited artists explored the resources and facilities of WheatonArts to develop experimental work for the Museum. McDonald and Baird created a performance installation, Phantom Frequencies, taking inspiration from glass horn whimsies in the collection and the Museum lobby’s Victorian parlor décor. The artists worked with the Glass Studio to create functional glass “instruments,” including roundels for gongs, cloches for bells, and horns of various shapes and sizes. The musical performances took place in the Museum lobby throughout 2019. Baird played the glass instruments while McDonald sang lyrics inspired by T.C. Wheaton’s batch book. They also played records on the functioning gramophone.
Spooky Action at a Distance, 2018
Evan Voelbel’s work is informed by physics, chemistry, and optics research. Spooky Action at a Distance, made during his 2018 fellowship at WheatonArts, displays his fascination with creating visual phenomena using glass. The piece’s title comes from Albert Einstein’s remark about quantum entanglement. Einstein believed that separated particles could not influence each other and referred to that notion as “spooky action at a distance.” Although Einstein thought it was impossible, that concept has been proven true. Voelbel uses the phrase and idea as a metaphor for the limits of knowledge and perception. At the same time, his work celebrates the limitless wonders of glass.
What happened when you pressed the button? Why?
The artist used a custom glass formula with rare earth oxides having unique optical properties. The oxides in the glass have different absorption bands; therefore, the light source affects the color. There are two different types of light bulbs hidden in the box. The orbs appear to switch places when in actuality, they change color.