GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: What are you working on?
Anne Petters: I'm currently a visiting artist in the glass department at Southern Illinois University for the Fall 2015 semester. Being in the academic environment with access to so many art studios offers an incredibly valuable opportunity to reflect on my sculptural work, and to find new facets to a specific pate de verre printing technique I've been developing and teaching in recent years. I discovered this process on the search for a translation of a specific image I had in my mind, trying to picture and freeze transient moments of thought for my “Disegno” series in 2011.
As in most of my work, the process was first inspired by the concept, and I am now letting the unique qualities that it offers further develop the work as I experiment with different combinations of kiln forming and blowing techniques. I'm using a specific way of making frit in the hot shop, which gives the pieces a unique soft and glowing appearance, and I am pushing this specific aesthetic quality towards creating works of desire and illusion, drawing the viewer into a direct physical experience of the material.
Temptation is a simple 1-inch-by-19-1/2-inch (2.5 cm x 50 cm) square block of fused frit that just looks like freshly fallen, sparkling snow waiting for your footprint. Liquid Crystal Collection shows several ice-like pieces around the theme of freezing movement and crystallizing ideas. The most asked question at the opening was "May I touch it?" Both pieces are on view at the Vergette Gallery at SIU through November 21, 2015
Furthermore, I am experimenting with growing salt on glass, which turns out to have similar snow and ice-like qualities like my pate de verre work, even exaggerating the attractive glassiness. In relation to my glass research here at SIU I picked up a paper salt project I started two years ago for a 2013 exhibition called "Geschwister" in Vienna at the Gallery Hinterland. The show was about imagining our potential siblings, who could have been here with us or instead of us. As a child I was already fascinated by the idea that out of all these possibilities it is me who is here, and I repeatedly find myself dealing with the idea of randomness, sudden change and control in my work and our vulnerability in this system of incidents. I never had the space and time to define this idea and I was now able to come closer to turning this piece into an installation situation, which can be seen at my exhibition at the Vergette Gallery.
GLASS: What have you seen or been thinking about that has inspired your recent work?
Anne: I have the feeling that my time here in Carbondale has done something to me more than to my work; something profound in my relation to making. Being in the studios here at SIU somehow triggered a deeper understanding, or lets say a very intense physical experience, of the materials I'm using. Especially being back in the hot shop and working in the wood shop made me feel connected like never before.
Travelling and change is what most inspires me in general. But being here, I experience something new almost every day, something I've never seen touched or smelled before. Some of my favorite moments here were spending time at the school lake watching turtles and turkey vultures, which we don´t have in Germany. I've been “art-nomading” for seven years now, working in different studios and universities in Europe and the U.S. Being in a new environment so often makes me even more sensitive to my surroundings and to the people I'm with. This is very essential for my work and is also part of what I like to communicate. Art can be this curious new something we have never seen before or it can put the familiar in a new perspective.
I like to confuse reality in order to give a fresh view on things we take for granted. For me it is all about the simple but important appreciation of being on this planet. In that context, a recent inspiration came from Werner Herzog´s documentaries. One of my favorites is The Great Ecstasy of the Woodcarver Steiner from 1974. I very much connect to his vibrating, dramatic way of revealing hidden cultural treasures and granting things importance. The intensity he creates in his films seems surreal in a sense of an exaggerated reality. Something I also always liked about David Lynch´s movies.
GLASS: Where can you work be seen?
My work can currently be seen in my show "Liquid Crystals" at the Vergette Gallery here at SIU, where I'm showing projects I worked on during my residency. I also have work in the exhibition Illusion and Reality: The Nature of Glass, Ceramics, and other Materials at the European Museum for Contemporary Glass in Veste Coburg, Germany, which will be running through April 3rd, 2016. You can also find my work in the collection of the Ernsting Stiftung Foundation in Coesfeld-Lette, Germany. Finally, my work is also able to be seen on my Website.
NOTE: The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet is published by UrbanGlass, where Anne Petters will be teaching a workshop on December 19 and 20, 2015.