Places of Contemplation

The work showing at the Museum Humanum this August as part of the 2013 Kulturbrücke is about the human experience, spirituality and the subconscious. Throughout time and across cultures humans have felt the need to create religions, spiritual practices, and art to express their subjective and intuitive experiences. For the Musuem Humanum I am exhibiting work that incorporates the archetypal female form with artifact and cave imagery.

Glimmer Glass Art

Artifacts have a life of their own that span many human lifetimes. They can often be the only windows we have into another person’s life and how they understood the world. Can we really identify with a prehistoric person? They may have the very same basic desires for food, shelter, and clothing, and perhaps even self-expression, but their worldview would be so different. Can we ever view their possessions with the same understanding they did? They who may have made it and viewed it as a vital part of their life and survival, and us who hold it up high and revere it as valuable art?

Moving from the objects that people leave behind, to their stories and myths, we find caves playing a mythical role in society. Caves are closely tied with female sexuality and its life giving powers, they were considered to be the ‘wombs’ of ‘Mother Earth’. Mayans believed caves to be sacred, a place where the gods could move between worlds. In my work I use caves as a metaphor for the subconscious, and spiritual dimensions of human existence. With the shift to a secular society, science has replaced mysticism and has renamed the realm of the gods ‘the subconscious’. Spirituality, psychoanalysis, and art are all human endeavors to explore this hidden aspect of our nature.

Using the archetypal female form and its close associations with caves this exhibition explores a common and deep-seated intuitive attraction to these forms and the mysteries they present.

“The Year of the Woman” opens on August 24th, 2013 at 3pm, at the Museum Humanum, Fratres, Austria. Please email criss@crisschaney.com for more information if you would like to attend.

Advertisements

Introspection

Here is my latest piece, its called Introspection. It was exhibited in the British Glass Biennale this year, and currently resides in the Creative Cohesion Gallery. It’s the largest and heaviest piece I’ve made so far.

 

Introspection is the first piece in a series which revolves around my fascination with caves. Some of the caves that have been discovered are beyond our wildest imaginings, like the Lechuguilla cave which contains some chambers with giant crystals, and others where every surface is covered with white crystals, the perfectly still and clear ponds are full of sulfuric acid, and when you shine a light into the chamber the whole thing glows and glistens.

The Mayans depended on a system of underground flooded caves for their fresh water. The cenotes where the lifeblood of the Mayan civilization and they believed caves to be sacred, a place where the gods could move between worlds.

Using the imagery of stalactites and stalagmites, my work explores the ancient interests in caves and the duality of existence between the material world and immaterial spiritual dimension of human existence. My interests also lie in the latest breakthroughs in quantum physics so while we know conceptually that space is not empty and that solid objects are mostly made up of empty space, we do not experience it as such. Reversing the two, negative space inside the cave actually becomes solid matter.

Using glass as a metaphor for empty space, the object calls attention to the shape of the space, and veiling or included elements allude to non-material possibilities that we are unaware of or unable to see.

The imagery of caves is a metaphor for undiscovered worlds or possibilities bringing into focus the fact that there are numerous unanswered questions about the nature of the universe an that there are infinitely more unasked questions about the reality we think we are experiencing, alluding to hidden human potential, and untapped realities yet to be discovered.