Artist's Statement 
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Christine Barney

Artist's Statement

With notebooks filled with sketches, I rent furnace time and work with a hired assistant, coaxing the molten glass to follow my will, not its own. Lifting heavy glass all day is physically exhausting and there is no time for contemplation. The sculpture will only be fluid and beautiful if done quickly, with sure movements and immediate decisions. Every time the sculpture is returned to the glory hole for reheating, a little bit of stiffness has entered deep into its core. The goal is to avoid this rigidity until that part of the sculpture is completed, balancing the molten and solid states. The time-consuming and complicated techniques of enclosing color into solid glass allow for only a few pieces to be completed in a day. The thick, sculptured pieces are then annealed for several days before the meditative rearrangement begins in my studio.

A crucial aspect of each sculpture is the finishing that occurs by cutting away glass to dislodge another sculpture within, releasing light from the core. The use of optical effects enhances the ability to disassociate color from its source, such that color becomes a sculptural component. Hundreds of hours are required to carve and polish new relationships which blossom into fruition when excavated layers of transparent color expand with light.

Another important consideration is the presentation of the sculpture through the use of marble or glass bases. Blocks of Schott crystal and lead glass are cut with the diamond saw to fit each sculpture. Many additional hours are spent grinding and polishing the glass bases. I also cut the marble bases individually from raw blocks. The marble is then beveled with grinding wheels and polished. Each base is carefully considered to enhance and complete the sculpture.

After 25 years of working in hot glass, I felt the need to create sculptures free from the constrictions imposed by the tools and techniques of hot glass. My new cast glass sculptures are created by lost wax casting. By slowing down the process of sculpting, by creating the form in wax, my focus is on the material, form and space. Subtleties of shape and direction are derived from the direct contact of my hands. Using all of the technical skill amassed over 30 years has given me a great freedom to follow this new path. An  artist must continually explore, invent and question. To change direction is an artist's voice that questions, "what if ?". Finding one's own voice is a life long quest.

April 2009