The last few weeks have flown by. During this residency, we have had studio visits and attended informative panel discussions previewing Mana’s business development program for artists as well as a closing reception and thought provoking discussion of Emily and Katie’s powerful exhibition, Her, Here.
It is a distinct luxury to be able to focus solely on my own work for once. For many years, I have taught part time at various Universities; the combined hours dedicated to teaching required far more than any part time job (at least if one was committed to their students). I love teaching and my students, but there was no way for me to be able to do it as a part time instructor. That being said, I still had to support “my teaching habit” (which provided an income below minimum wage) by working full time in the realm of commercial sculpture. Even so, while working two full time jobs, I have always continued to make my own work, not out of choice, but a matter of survival. Balance? What is that! I wonder if there is such a thing for any of us artists, and if so, is it something we strive for?
Work is progressing, and true to my nature, in a variety of directions simultaneously. I find that I work best with several irons on the fire. I am investigating new materials as well as revisiting old ones.
I am also continuing my work in glass. I find that my work is always personal and yet rarely discuss intimate references. I prefer to leave the viewer to their own questions and ideas. At the same time, through a recent studio visit, I was asked the initial inspiration for my glass series and realized that I don’t think I have ever really discussed it. I was involved in a serious car accident that in many ways has inspired this work. . I remember the glass shattering upon impact and being mesmerized by the beauty of the patterns created by the fractures as well as the formal memory it retained from my impact against it. The simple act of taking recycled windshields is indicative of a literal transformative process as well as a metaphorical one.
Taking recycled materials and transforming it into new works has always been integral to my process. The tubular piece above is created from forms that I found street side in Chelsea. Squeezing them into a sedan I had to thread them diagonally through two open windows. Driving along the westside highway, I loved the way the tubes began to hum and sing. They sounded so human . I am working on this notion and would ultimately investigating opportunities to incorporate sound into these pieces.
I often work with found objects and recycling, and early on found that the cicada has served as a symbolic reference to much of my work .. My earliest memories in Italy are late afternoons filled with cicada song echoing through the desolate piazza while the rest of the village sought cool refuge in their afternoon post pranzo nap.
The cicada throughout history and across the globe has served as a universal symbol of transformation/transcendence. Specific species lie deep within the earth surface for 29 years, waiting precisely for the right moment to emerge from the darkness, shedding their skins and sprouting their newly minted wings, handy for a few days of copulatory bliss before they perish. They are heroic indeed!
I have an opportunity to work with Keating Foundry here at Mana, and look forward to casting new works with them. I have just finished making molds revisiting the cicada from a new vantage point.
I am also investigating new casting media for my large 4 foot cicada mold. So nice to have room to work and the support to do so!
By Gina Miccinilli