Most art in museums is displayed with a barrier between the subject and the patron, often a thick pane of glass or stanchions and thick ropes. Get too close and a guard likely reminds you not to touch in no uncertain terms. Artist Anjali Srinivasan aims to tear down these barriers. Accessibility is the forefront of her thought processes and people are the last piece of the interactive puzzle she creates. Her bold direction of making an art an interactive experience is what got the attention of a panel of artists, educators, and collectors at the University of Arts who awarded her the fifth annual Irvin Borowsky International Prize in Glass Arts. The award comes with a $5,000 prize and a lecture at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which she will deliver on November 9, 2017.
Named after philanthropist and publisher Irvin Borowsky who died in 2014, the award is given to artists who push the boundaries of art and whose pieces are both bold in statement and technical skills are sharpened to a master level.
Srinivasan’s career has spanned 20 years and works in studios around the world creating pieces for both public and private collections. One piece titled “Quivering Bowl” uses a mix of blown glass and silicon to give the appearance of a glass bowl, but whose structure reverberates to the slightest touch. Another piece titled “Unda,” was created by the artist as part of her 2016 “Designers of the Future” award by Swarovski. Her massive 20-foot piece was made of both rock and crystal to show the transition between the minerals in nature. The crystal uses LED lights and sensors to light up at the touch of a hand.
Srinivasan received an Accessories Design Diploma from the National Institute of Fashion Design in New Delhi, India, in 1998. She received a Masters in Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design in 2007. She also holds a BFA with a focus on glass blowing at Alfred University. Srinivasan works from her studios, “ChoChoMa” in Dubai, and at the Women’s Industrial Park in India. Outside of the hotshop, she teaches as an assistant professor in the Fine Arts 3D department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.
Srinivasan’s aim with her work is to make viewers the subject. “My recent work allows the “audience” to partake in building of a glass object by engaging directly in the process,” said the artist in an email exchange with the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet. “I make things that don’t function without human touch, things that are pretty much dead without human presence.”
She always looks out for ways for human interaction to play out in her art, with the intention of creating moments with individuals and she believes that it only reaches its full potential in a social setting.
“I am interested in activating the space of human touch; to bless something with your presence; to partake in its process of making or unmaking. I seek that kind of active role for the 'viewer'”
The human factor is something that is meant to “play out” in her work. From her own observations on her art, she gives a focus on interaction, with inevitable side-effect being decay and aging from the art being spent.
“I think of the withering or the eroding of my works to be similar to the shedding of cells in our skin” said Srinivasan, “I think the natural aging in the work along the lines of progression of age during a life cycle.”
She believes that her recognition is the result of utilizing glass in unusual ways and the push for glass into the mainstream. Her own testing with glass techniques and stresses, like her studies with fractal patterning, has allowed her push boundaries. Interactivity is something that she has become known for, but emphasises that it isn’t something that is a requirement in all works. She firmly believes all artists should look for their own avenues of creativities.
“I would hope that people who want to be artists are willing to work really, really hard - tenaciously and relentlessly - for what they believe is their honest voice. Or to find it.”
Photo Caption: Anjali Srinivasan, Thinking Cap/ Head Container, 2013. Blown mirrorized glass, Stainless Steel colander. D. 10” x H 8”.
IF YOU GO:
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 6 PM
The University of the Arts
320 South Broad Street
Email: RSVP at email@example.com or at 215-717-6136 before Thursday, Nov. 2.