Drawings in Glass and Steel

When I was asked to produce a quilt for a large atrium in 2000, I hesitated because I knew that any textile would be vulnerable to direct sunlight. As a result I resolved to make a drawing in steel. The result was “Cradle.” The experience of working with the process and the medium led me to revisit earlier wall drawings that I had made, and to recreate some of them in steel. I was pleased by the way these works occupy a space that is both drawing and sculpture, and by the way that steel gives weight to the casual sweep of the drawings. more

I began to use sand-blasted glass as a way to translate the translucency of vellum into a more permanent and durable medium. In “Phases of the Moon,” rounded sand-blasted shapes equivocate between stones and clouds, and, in the installation “Bloom,” between stones and breath on a pane of glass.

BLOOM (Artist’s Statement for the exhibition Celan at Dazibao Gallery, 2004)

Though I read poems by Paul Celan using my mind, I understand them through my body. Celan reminds us that language, words, are real, like objects. In his poetry, as biographer John Felstiner writes ‘the words themselves act and suffer.’ They undo each other. Words unfold only to fold back in on themselves. Celan himself described the trajectory of his career as ‘going to silence.’

My work, entitled “Bloom,” is an installation. Into one wall are engraved words and parts of phrases, all from Celan’s poems. The other part consists of ledges arrayed over the surface of two walls, each with a 16” x 16” pane of glass resting on the ledge. On each pane is etched a sandblasted rounded shape. Each shape represents a stone. The stone is made apparent as much by the shadows it casts as by the glass itself. The shapes provide evidence of speech, blocked or buried, like a poem in a bottle. Like a stone in the throat. The word-stones float. They blossom.

It’s time the stone consented to bloom.
(from Celan’s Corona)