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 Bio Engineering Glass


Lawrence (Jerry)Morrell

Jerry's Technique



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From Jerry Morrell: Just a few words for the subject
Futuristic artwork for the Computer Age

            Some feel that using computers to create art keeps you from a close, tactile relationship to your materials and actually gets between the artist and the creative process. To me, it's just the opposite.
Computers are just vastly more sophisticated paint brushes.
When I use Photoshop to composite images from past work into new combinations, it greatly improves the creative process. In a world of ever more limited resources, using computers allows me to see what many different approaches look like before investing the time and energy to laboriously melt glass and metal. 

            My art is inspired by scientific research in the Biosciences and there is also a conceptual resonance to incorporating research imagery created by computers into my translucent textures. They also allow me to emulate The Scientific Method (The collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses).
This very systematic process is the way I learn to transform the glass, metal and other materials
I use through each stage of my artwork.

            I feel it is my artistic mission to visually represent and record the exponentially changing age we are living through, with science and computers as the greatest forces of change in that world.

March 23, 2009

Morrell's Technique

Curently, soda lime (plate glass) is used. In the process are Objects made of Starfire and others with Bulls Eye Glass
The etching is created with a reductive, sand carving process using compressed air and an abrasive grit that
minutely chips away the glass thousands of times a second.
The areas of design are protected by a rubbery mask that is glued to the smooth glass surface and bounces the grit harmlessly away. As the particles hit the exposed areas where there is no masking, they chip away the surface, gouging deeper and deeper.  As the glass carves down, I direct the abrasive airstream in many different ways so it scoops out and then undercuts areas of the design. This part of the work has to be done completely by hand and creates an organic, bas relief effect that can never be repeated exactly the same way again making each sculpture unique.

           The overall textural design started with a single, circular cross section of a plant stem as seen under a microscope.
 That first group of concentric dots is then repeated in different sizes and shapes and all are laboriously woven together,
line by line into an organized and seamless pattern of thousands of dots.
The design is then delicately carved into the face of thick glass and a silvery,
polychromed enamel is applied to the back of the glass.
This creates a slightly luminescent look to the material because the back surface softly reflects any ambient room light.
 The outer tips of the glass diffuse the light and turn much lighter than the surrounding glass.
As you view the sculpture from different angles, the surface appears to change constantly as light enters the translucent glass and bounces off the back enamel, constantly reflected and redirected by the different thicknesses of the deeply carved material.

          This Bio Engineered Organism series is the creation of a formal, visual language that brings to life, in a human scale, the pioneering biological and molecular research of this age.  
Hidden in some of the concentric circles are "X" & "Y" (gene) symbols that reference the nomenclature scientist's use to describe the physical structure of plants and animals.
Although current attempts to insert genes from animals into plants have not been particularly successful, I feel it is only a matter of time until these new sciences will start to positively reshape our world creating new organic materials that will harmlessly decompose when no longer of use to us.
These sculptures represent the intricate and hidden textures of these "Engineered" materials and are my vision of the way they would look if we could see them with the unaided human eye.  
They are also an attempt to humanize these sometimes controversial scientific breakthroughs that have the power to transform parts of our world to the great benefit of mankind.

Lawrence Morrell 2008