Looking Glass: A Monthly Post on Four Artists Who Caught My Eye • June/July

Lesley Dill- Lesley Dill’s work was introduced to me by a grad school professor at a personally important moment as I struggled to leave the 2D world for 3D.  Years ago as a painter, I had struggled with how to visually speak about identity and memory and I researched and experimented with materials making welded forms that vaguely resembled empty hoop skirts and long skeins of wire-twisted poetry.  My professor (a mixed media/installation based artist herself) brought me a magazine image of Lesley Dill’s work. Seeing Lesley Dill’s poetry dresses and her photo works on canvas all  thick with language, both lifted and depressed me- she understood what I longed for but lacked in vocabulary and experience.  Her work made immediate and resonating sense to me.  Lesley Dill’s inspired mash-up of Emily Dickenson’s poetry and her mixed media sculptures and photos have a burning, prophetic fierceness to them- there is an urgency in her work that comes from the ideal balance of material and visionary voice.  Today Lesley Dill continues to work with a rich variety of material and text and creates work for both stage and gallery.  Link

Lauren Fensterstock- I came across Lauren Fensterstock’s work when I was researching the Claude Glass.  Her recent show at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center was dark and evocative and had a crazy amount of cut paper elements.  Her work utilizes a beautiful sense of craft- her paper cutting is astounding for its detail as well as for the sheer enormity of work.  Her installations, dark and alluring, quietly draw you near with beautiful, but slightly dangerous elements.  After I first found her website I began stumbling across images of her work or interviews with her- at Jentel residency program last summer, I found an older interview with her in an art magazine left in my studio building. She is an artist that has done some really interesting things, including having a fascination with Ann Boleyn and piccadilly’s!  Link

Kimiake and Shin-ichi Higuchi- A few years ago, as I was just starting out in glass, I came across a clip from an educational video made by the Studio at Corning Museum of Glass. It was of Kimiake and Shin-ichi Higuchi demonstrating how she makes her giant cabbage leaves in glass using the technique of pâte de verre.  I was so astounded at this partial video (that left out vital bits of info- it was a clip, after all), that I spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to reenact the press mold technique.  When I saw that they were teaching an upcoming juried class at Corning, I pleaded this example in my application as why I needed to get into this highly competitive course.  The Higuchi’s are not only master technicians (there is the right way and then the way that will get them to take the tool from you and show you the right way) and they are also two of the most generous and knowledgable artist-teachers I have met.  Their work, so inspired by their garden outside Tokyo (their studio was badly damaged but rebuilt after the earthquake and tsunami), is stunning. The technical and visual feats of glassmaking captures the magic qualities of the most unassuming of plants, and makes them majestic and vital.  Link

Maria Magdalena Campos Pons- A few years ago I drove up to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see Maria Magdalena Campos Pons sprawling show.  Her work took over several galleries and used an extensive and diverse collection of materials and medias.  From wood to painting, video, glass and most importantly- photography- Campos Pons led us through a life and familial history as a Cuban born, American transplant. Her strongest work is her photographic installations- these usually fractured, narrative photos use herself as the model and canvas.  Her body painted, holding symbolic objects and mirroring or pairing herself and another, reflect the two worlds she straddles.  Often it is her braids that literally tie two frames together, binding present and her past.  Link

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