Closing at the end of July, the exhibition Aaron Pexa: The Spoils of Annwn features an multi-sensory installation by the Providence, Rhode Island-based artist. We were able to ask him a few questions about his inspiration and process.
UrbanGlass: How did you first learn about "Preiddeu Annwn (The Spoils of Annwn)," the text that inspired this exhibition?
Aaron Pexa: I first came across Annwn while researching mythological places. It was described as an island of glass or a glass fortress. This immediately caught my attention. As I continued to research Annwn I came across Evangeline Walton's fantasy novel Prince of Annwn (1974). Walton's rich descriptions of the qualities of light for both the landscape and the beasts that inhabit it were an important resource in creating The Spoils of Annwn. She describes it as the "true World of Middle Light" with hounds whose "whiteness..blazed like flame and shown like snow." This Otherworld of Middle Light is rich with opportunities for storytelling and I was interested in exploring how that could be materialized with glass and light.
UG: Prior to working as an artist you were a licensed architect. How does your previous career influence your current practice?
AP: My background as an architect definitely plays a role in how my installations are realized. My goal is not to create glass objects to be put on a pedestal and looked at. I want an exchange, an interaction between the object or installation, the space, the person, the air, the light, and the imagination, altering accepted realities. My creations are to be experienced and explored with a narrative. The Spoils of Annwn is about creating a world and folding the narrative in through glass, video, illustrated textiles, neon, light sculptures, porcelain feastware, and sound.
Learn more about the exhibition and read curator Samantha De Tillio's essay here.