A solo exhibition featuring California glass artist Marsha Blaker-DeSomma opened last week at the Traver Gallery in Seattle. The exhibition, “Diving Within,” includes new pieces that showcase the artist’s fascination with intricate organic forms. Composed of hundreds of thick disks of glass, her new works evoke the curving shapes and patterns that appear in nature on a microscopic level. “The organismic detail and intricacy in my work are inspired by my observations of nature,” said Blaker-DeSomma in her artist’s statement. Pieces such as Luscious and Bait Ball [pictured above] feature clusters of cell-like disks and tubes.
Blaker-DeSomma does not limit her imagery to the molecular level, however. Many of her new pieces play on the fact that certain microscopic patterns repeat themselves on a much larger scale in the visible natural world. Blaker-DeSomma is particularly fascinated by fluid, flowing forms found in the sea. The round cell-like shapes in “Bait Ball,” for example, could also represent a piece of coral or barnacles, and the grouping of abstract diamond forms in “Shadow” could be taken either for a cluster of molecules or a piece of sea kelp—or, on an even larger scale, an arterial system of rivers viewed from outer space. “Networks, intertwined webbings and myriad channels are visible in microscopic inspection of the organic cellular level as well as in a satellite view of the Great Amazon,” Blaker-DeSomma said in her artist’s statement. “Fundamentally, all life is liquid and has been shaped by fluid systems.”
Blaker-DeSomma worked with a team of artists, including her husband Paul DeSomma, to create the new pieces for “Diving Within.” In their Santa Cruz hot shop, her team cut hollow glass tubes into pieces of varying widths and lengths, and fused them together to create intricate three-dimensional forms. In this new body of work, according to a statement from the Traver Gallery, Blaker-DeSomma used a much wider range of thicknesses than in the past, and also explored “the use of black outlined pieces, creating inky lines within the body of the sculpture, essentially allowing her to execute drawings in glass.”
Blaker-DeSomma added that the process of creating her glass works is part of a wider practice she calls “Continuum,” which integrates the flowing movements of shaping glass and her relationship with the sea. “Continuum is a movement practice, not dance, not yoga, although it shares aspects of both,” she said in an email exchange with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet. “In addition to working with molten glass and practicing continuum, I am an ocean swimmer for most of the year. Exploring, discovering and inquiring into the fluid nature of life and movement is pivotal for me.”
Diving Within will be on display at the Traver Gallery in Seattle until May 13, 2012. The exhibition will be open late on May 3 for the First Thursday Seattle Art Walk.
IF YOU GO:“Diving Within”
110 Union Street #200
Seattle, Washington 98101
Phone: 206 587-6501
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10-6 / Saturday 10-5 / Sunday 12-5