GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: What are you working on?
Wayne Strattman: I’m in the process of completing work on a piece for my current museum show. The piece is entitled Trivial Encounters, and has a subtitle from a quote by Kierkegaard which reads: “I feel as the Chessman must when the opponent says ‘that piece cannot be moved’.” This work is comprised of a chess set made up of 32 custom blown glass, and self-illuminated icons created from limited information received from interactions with people I’ve met over the past year. The background idea of the piece is that we as a culture increasingly meet or interact with more and more people but, because many of our interactions are via social media or done in an increasingly dense social environment, these interactions are more fleeting, less intimate in nature, and more and more we are interacting with essentially self-created marketing images such as the ones you might see on a Facebook site or amongst the crowd at an art opening.
This limited information leaves us to fill in the gaps so to speak with our own prejudices, preconceived notions, hopes, biases, etc. Essentially like an artist who creates a work from an inspiration so we are creating people in our heads from little more than a brief impression. The piece hopefully asks the question as to how much reality is there to these creations and in what direction this arc will lead when we create our impression of a world image comprised of this type interaction.
GLASS: What have you seen recently that has inspired you and got you thinking about your own work?
Wayne: My inspiration comes mostly from direct observation. While I’m riding the subway, watching people on a street or in a social situation I pay attention to the ways I see people communicating. I couple with this with taking classes in meditation and mindfulness training and my experience has made me more aware of the cacophony of thoughts and emotions streaming through my own consciousness.
I have a visual analogy that I often use to illustrate how I see how the human mind works, that of a swarm of bees. Within the swarm there is no predicting the direction of any given bee and it seems chaotic but the swarm itself seems to have intentionality, direction and purpose. I see the mind similarly, layered with a wide and changing dynamic of emotions, intentions, memories, whims, and a constant processing of stimuli yet somehow we keep this gestalt functioning. I’m using these observations both from within and without as inspiration to make my current sculpture.
GLASS: Where is it possible to see your work?
Wayne: My current museum show, “Self: Illuminated,” is at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, Massachussetts, through mid-January 2013.
Editor’s Note: For more on the Wayne Strattman exhibition, see the video below.