The art galleries were full of new exhibitions and projects this week with the artists more than welcome to explain the piece or answer a few questions. This week the exhibition that I was intrigued by was created by artist Maccabee Shelley. His sculptures or figures were created through a combination of colors and materials, such as glass.
He was quite eager to talk to the small group hovering around his work and began explaining the process of a piece constructed of “test bowls.” As he explained, in ceramics he usually makes hundreds of test bowls as a common practice to test materials; the test bowls allow him to experiment without having to worry too much about the end result; they allow him to discover what he might want to use for another project. He soon noticed, however, that he had many test bowls in his possession and decided to make a piece solely around that.
The specific piece was constructed out of expensive glass and the many colors he was able to create in ceramics. A combination of glaze and clay helped him stick the many components together and continue playing around with his work. He showed us the metal rails and brick around the piece that allow the bowls to be topped on top of one another. I liked his comparison of his work to the game Jenga because it seemed to really illustrate the process; it took a great deal of skill and talent to arrange the bowls, but it also took a touch of creativity and curiosity to construct the piece in the first place. His piece seemed to illustrate a key component of art: you have to keep exploring and playing around with materials to create something you are satisfied and inspired by.
He ended the summary of his piece by pointing out the three sets of painted glass that held it up. He explained that they were three separate pieces of glass that were originally crystal clear and completely beautiful on their own, but as he stated they are, “something so beautiful… [that serve a different] purpose,” within the piece, and he considered that to be the most important thing. Everything from his process to his work seemed to embody the creativity of art.
His exhibition was very intriguing, from the pieces we were allowed to pick up, to the piece full of candy, to the test bowls, and of course, to the rest of his ambitious work within the gallery. I enjoyed hearing him talk about his piece, but most of all I enjoyed how he ended his speech; he ended with an encouragement to explore within the realm of art and keep discovering how to manipulate all of the different existing materials because, “sometimes you need to paint over something beautiful to make something great.”