Carolyn Spears’ experimental exhibition “Power of Place” explores relationships between glass and glacial ice formations, what happens when the materials interact with each other, and their dialogues expressing impermanence and fragility. “This exhibition is a meditation on our surroundings and the interconnection of humans to nature.” – Carolyn Spears
On View: July 14-September 29, 2023 (Gallery Hours M-F 11am-6pm)
As a glassblower of 11 years, I’ve become attuned to the unique and dualistic properties of glass. Little did I know that moving to Wisconsin, a place marked by deep freezes and glacial landforms, would inspire a new artistic journey for me. Influenced by the cold winters in this climate, I have begun working with ice as a natural extension of my longstanding interest in impermanence and fragility.
Many of the works in this show were made using experimental methods of combining found ice with hot glass. These two materials share in common their ability to flow, fracture, distort, transform, and hold memory. When glass and ice interact, the ice rapidly vaporizes into steam upon touching the 2,000-degree hot glass. The event is quick and energetic, producing sizzling sounds and billowy steam. The ice transforms and quickly vanishes, leaving behind supple craters and textured surfaces impregnated with tiny fractures, and the memory of a fleeting presence.
The poetic qualities of these materials demonstrate ephemerality, transformation, and the precarity of life and landscapes. Power of Place asks us how we contend with our own impermanence by calling into question natural phenomena which shape our existence. By using materials and objects which reference geologic forces, this exhibition is a meditation on our surroundings and the interconnection of humans to nature. The works in this show create a multidimensional experience, asking us what we can gain from harnessing a close relationship with our environment by paying attention to its phenomena.