Exhibitions | 26-10-2022

In Our Hands glass exhibition in Canada

Glass artist Mary Louise White’s ‘In Our Hands’ exhibition celebrates “the power we hold in our hands through the beauty of glass”.

The many glass hands in her exhibition are cast from the hands of volunteers. As she explains, these are “the people who willingly lend helping hands behind the scenes, without fanfare and without seeking anything in return. Each hand is as unique and special as the person behind it”.

She continues, “Each hand holds a cast glass Earth Egg, symbolising the future of life on planet Earth, and the potential each of us holds to influence the outcome.

The central hand is the only one with a red ‘vein of life’, described by the artist as a “happy accident”.

“Transparent, clear glass is intrinsically beautiful. It transmits light and is metaphorically rich and deep. It acts as a lens, directing light, amplifying details, and illuminating features.

“Once formed, glass is always glass. It can never return to the physical and chemical components from which it is made. In that way, it is eternal, and yet it also has an inherent fragility, and can be shattered in an instant. The properties of glass thus bring a silent awareness of the permanence and impermanence of all things.

“This project is an invitation, funnelled through the beauty of glass, to work individually and collectively to protect the fragile systems that make life possible on our pale blue dot.”

Each participant was asked to write a few words about their hand. These were printed on posters and hung on the walls in the installation gallery.

“The posters contribute a sense of play and offer a challenge to find and match the glass hands with the texts,” states Mary Louise. “They provide insight into the people behind the hands and the richness that each hand/person contributes to one another and to the community.

“The lighting in the space creates shadows and reflections of the hands which are cast onto the walls and the ceiling. It is visually beautiful and magical. The effect seems to confirm that the reach of influence of each single hand can be farther than intended or imagined.

“The focal point is the elevated hand of the artist, the red streak of life blood pointing to a quest for understanding.

“All the hands but mine were made using beautiful, transparent, clear virgin cullet. I cast my own hand of scrap glass. One of the scraps, it would seem, was a striker glass, a glass which appears to be clear before firing, but strikes to another colour at temperatures above 1500F. The red vein of ‘life blood’ did not become visible until I divested the piece from its mould after firing. It seemed perfect! A truly happy accident.”

The In Our Hands exhibition is on until 29 October 2022 at Gallery 3, St Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, St Thomas, Ontario, Canada. Website: http://stepac.ca

Main image: Each cast glass hand holds an ‘Earth Egg’.

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