Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Mechanical Tree

The Scottish Glass Society Annual Exhibition 2009

As a student of Design and Applied Arts I work mainly in Architectural Glass, by which I mean two dimensional free standing or hanging panels. I construct these to be seen in gallery spaces, but they could just as easily be used as windows in an interior setting. I combine the use of ceramic, oil and glass paints with sandblasting, engraving and fusing to create images. My pieces achieve depth through a process of layering glass, each layer with separate complimentary forms which when brought together create new imagery. I use a lot of copper foiling and soldering in my work often contrasting the soft, bright, wispy glass design with dark painted wood, which is not just used as a method to frame my glass but becomes part of the art itself.

I take inspiration from a lot of different sources when it comes to my glass work. I am a very visual person and every second of every day my eyes are picking up on the subtle nuances of the world around me and channelling them subconsciously back into my art. Recently I have been hugely stimulated by a mixture of industrial machinery and organic form, the juxtaposition of which has heavily influenced a great deal of the glass I’ve done over the last year. When starting a new piece I often spend a week or two just drawing in order to generate new ideas and to help me focus in on what I want to make. I will draw from human form or walk around the city stopping to capture street scenes or lamp posts or dead leafs that grab my attention. I go to the library or onto the Internet and find images of similar things and try to mimic the mood or essence of a photo or a day.

Currently I am obsessed with curved organic lines and their juxtaposition with hard industrial shapes. I love the linear quality found in the work of artists such as Egon Schiele and H. R. Giger and the flowing form of Barbara Hepworth. When I’m starting a new project I look at the work of artists like these and from them take huge inspiration.

My uncle used to grow trees from seed, and hundreds of little pots would line all his window sills. When he died I kept a few. Recently the last of those few, a rowan tree, has withered and I drew it sad in its pot. That drawing became a print that now sits on my window sill where I see it every day. I still draw a lot of inspiration from it, and its contours and carved lines can defiantly be seen running through my glass work. My influences continually change and evolve, focusing on whatever aspect of my life most excites me at the time.

Exhibition Proposal
‘The Wandering’ shows the epic journey of a tree uprooted and forced to roam the land looking for a new home. I tried to capture this sense of movement and isolation as it journeys for a new land to lay down its roots. I wanted it to seem half living, half mechanical forced to migrate as a lone creature wandering with nowhere to go. I wanted to explore my own sense of identity and how I feel rooted to Scottish soil, what it means to feel Scottish and what it would mean to be forced to leave.

The Panel itself is comprised of a large wooden frame with glass inlaid into it and lights behind it. The glass tree is made of three layers of float glass. The first and second layers are painted with tracing black and the bottom layer is sandblasted and painted with red oil paint. These layers were then copperfoiled and soldered together before being held in place by silicone glue and builders caulk. The MDF frame was jig-sawed into the shape of the tree and will be attached to a lightbox and held to the wall with mirror plates. The work will be an installation.
Approximate Size: 167.7 x 100 x 18 cm

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