Wednesday, May 20

If you like your art dark, creepy and kooky...

...(as I do) you absolutely must have a look at Judith Shaechter's stained glass.
I think I could spend several hours in her company. I love what she says about her beginnings as an artist and her choice of glass as a medium:

"My parents, not artists themselves, accidentally made me an artist by ascribing genius to every scribble I made. My mother kept and labeled everything. Looking through this stuff in college, I was surprised to find out what a case of arrested development I was. I drew dead lions, crying kitties, and Winston Churchill in his coffin.

I never thought of myself as an artist. The real reason I went to art school was to eliminate phys ed and math from my life.

My involvement with stained glass dates back to whenever it was I got my Lite-Brite toy. Later, I made those melt in the oven suncatchers. I guess it can all be chalked up to phototropism. I took stained glass as an elective in art school (I was a painting major at the time) and haven't quit yet.

I guess the most appealing thing for me is the tedium factor. I don't have too many worthy and profound ideas, so each piece needs to take a certain amount of time. This keeps my hands busy and in sync with my head.

Ironically, I find my "artistic voice" is liberated only by the severest of technical restrictions. The more monotonous and difficult a process, the more exciting I find it. Incidentally, for this reason I've always found the process of painting intolerable. Nothing is more horrible than a blank canvas and nothing more easily filled with meaningless, arty brush strokes. I went through a phase as a painter when I would gesso over all the superfluous elements. I would always end up staring at a white rectangle again.

Another major reason I stick with stained glass is because I think the raw material is pretty. The uncut sheets of colored glass are really seductive, awesome, and unarguably lovely things. Naturally, the temptation to cut and damage all that pristine beauty is too much for me to resist.

Finally, my atheist upbringing accounts for my attraction to the spiritual aspect of transmitted light. Some medieval guy said it best when he said stained glass is enlightenment embodied."

The above panel is called "Birdthief" (2001)

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