Alberta College of Art + Design, February 23, 2009-06-18
Introduction: Robert Geyer
It’s with great pleasure that we welcome Irene Frolic to Living Glass History.
Irene Frolic has been using glass as a material for sculpture for over twenty years. During this time she has been one of the leaders of the studio glass movement in developing kiln-cast glass as a material for artistic expression.
She is particularly known for using the properties of glass as a means of expressing the emotional palette of her art practice. Her work makes interesting comments on the ideas of personal history, the interdependence of beauty and decay, and the link between psychology and geology.
Irene Frolic is a past president of the Glass Art Association of Canada and is a member of the Royal Academy. She maintains a studio in Toronto, Ontario and regularly exhibits internationally and her work is found in many private and public collections.
She is also one of the foremost educators in kiln-cast glass and has taught workshops all over the world including Pilchuck Glass School.
Once again we welcome Irene to Living Glass History. Thank you very much.
IF: Thank you very much.
IF: Hi Tina:
Tina: My question is, who is your favorite artist today and why?
IF: Ok well, when I saw that question first it took me a bit by surprise because I suddenly had to think who is my favorite artist why. And I gave it a bit of thought and I’ve chosen two people one of whom is an old chestnut, Picasso, you’ll be surprised to hear, and the other is Lucian Freud. Why Picasso? Such a standard. One of the reasons I admire Picasso is not so much for the constant of his work really but the fact that he was able to reinvent himself over and over and over again over a very long, long period of art making. I think it’s very hard, I think art comes as sort of bursts and gusts. I like to call this sort-of ten-year cycles. An artist usually has one ten-year cycle in which they have some kind of an inspiration. They work it through, they understand it, they reach a pinnacle and then it sort of tapers off. Maybe a slightly better artist can do it twice in a couple of ten-year cycles. But Picasso was able to do it so many times and even as a very old man (I think in his 80′s, I think he was, or his 70′s) he was able still to find the strength and the fire of creativity in him to push through for yet another body of work. It’s very hard to make a body of work. You have to think about it a long time, you have to express it and to be able to do that over and over and over again is really the mark of a great genius, I think. So, that’s why I chose Picasso. Lucian Freud as you know is a wonderful portrait artist, a contemporary portrait artist who lives in London. And I absolutely adore looking at his work. He paints like a sculptor. He layers things on. He forces you to really, really look at his character and you know that he as an artist is really, really looking. And that’s the most important thing for an artist and I think he does that really well. And I think for those reasons those are the two artists I admire at least today. Maybe next week I’ll think of someone else. I also like very quiet artists like Agnes Martin.
Tina Tremblay: Who influenced you in the early stages of your art practice?
IF: Who influenced me? When I first started, and I started already as a mature person in my 40′s, I don’t think I really had something I had to express. I hadn’t really ever looked at art or thought of myself as an artist. There was just something in me that had to come out so I don’t think I really looked at art as a discipline. At the time when I first started my work there was just something in me I had to express and I was going to get it out some way. I happened to take a glass course. I don’t know, maybe it would have come out some other way. I’m not sure. It’s only maybe in the last ten years that I’ve started looking at art and I consider myself more as an artist as a profession so I make art about art. Or I think about art and I think about my work in a different way. But I think we’ll get to that later.
In your artist statement you talk about the connection in your work between the layered earth and the psychology of the human face. It feels that you are using this to capture the moment between the animate and inanimate in your work. Is this true?
IF: I think what I meant about that moment between animate and inanimate in that quote was that it was a moment of stillness that I was trying to capture, a moment of clarity. A moment that is torn between what was and what will be. That moment as of right now, as of right this moment that we are. I call that being inanimate when you’re nothing but just that moment of being there. Sort of pure being. And that’s what I try to capture and certainly tried to capture that in my early work. I used to say that my work was mute in the sense that it just sort of was there and there was nothing animate. As you see with the faces there’s never any expression on them or anything like that. I wanted that expression to come from, in those early works, from the material itself, the metaphor of the glass looking all worn and beat-up as it were. I hope I’ve answered that question for you.
Can you talk more about your material choice and how glass is never really inanimate? The particles are always moving. Is that important?
IF: That’s a very interesting question. Honestly, that’s something I’ve never thought about. But I wasn’t thinking of that so much as of the human side of it. The metaphor of the glass that I was using at that time was that glass at the centre of the earth. The magma. That glass.
Hi Irene. You state that “nothing should go unnoticed; everything should be touched.” What is the relationship between the ideas of tactility and memory in your work?
IF: That’s a very interesting question. When I talk about touch in that, I don’t mean touch as merely the tactility of touching. What I meant was touch is moving you into the understanding of a subject or the taking on of a subject. And I feel that memory is what has been touched. Everything that you think of that you’ve touched is memory. So I wasn’t really thinking of it in that tactile sense. I wrote somewhere once that memory is transformation and transformation is art. So what the artist has touched is what’s in the artist’s memory is what comes out. And I also wrote once, “Memory is the wound, transformation the healing, art the scars.” So, art is what comes out after you’ve touched your experience, so to speak, or understood it or loved or however you process it in any way – that is memory. And that’s what I meant by touch.
And I was just wondering. When you’re reconstructing your memory, do any other senses come into it besides the touch of creation to help you with the reconstruction?
IF: In those works, certainly, when I said they were mute, it was almost like a passing through of me without seeming to think of the piece that came through. And I worked in clay, which is very easy to work with. Now I work in glass, which is very difficult to work with. And it just sort of passed though me and out through my hands without seeming to touch anything else. I’m sure it did but that’s how it felt like to me. It was inevitable that that work would come out at the end of my fingers. So it certainly wasn’t conscious.
Hi Irene. The transition in material usage, texture and colour in your work seems to parallel a journey taken through your own life. For instance, the early pieces seem tortured, dark; yet your newer work with the long necks and curvaceous faces references, on one level, the stems and buds of flowers. Does this progression in your work document a journey?
IF: A journey, yes, it certainly has been a journey. And I think my work, now that I look back at it, certainly documented a journey. It’s always easier to look back at something and put it back together. But I work very intuitively and when I’m working I don’t know until it’s all finished and I look back at it as to what I’ve done. But when I look back at the last twenty years or twenty-five years, it certainly was a journey. And as I said, when I first started, I felt very much as though I was going out there completely on my own sort of a pioneer. It was still quite early on in the glass scene. We didn’t learn anything about kiln casting because everyone was interested in blowing. So the kiln-casters we thought we were just inventing everything as we went along. And I also had this outpouring of feeling that I had when I started and at that time I didn’t want to take any responsibility at all for my work so I would make the piece and then I would put in the window glass, put the copper in, I’ll talk to you later about that process. But I didn’t want to take any responsibility for what the piece looked like when it was finished. It was all so emotional that as I said I felt that something was passing through me and I was making work that I wasn’t responsible for, didn’t want to take responsibility for. So the colours came just because of the firing. I had no idea how things would look when it was finished. What it was that I was working through, as many of you know, is that I’m a Holocaust survivor and somehow this whole idea of glass and fires of annihilation and the fires in the kiln and everything, it just took hold of me and held me gently and fiercely for almost ten years while I worked through certain things in my work. There came a time, however, maybe ten years ago, when I felt I had said as much as I could say with that work, through my installations and the pedestal work as well. And I remember one day I was in Paris, and I had always gone to the Picasso museum to see all the figurative works that he had, all those tortured things, and I couldn’t go in. And I just had had enough of it and I, somehow, I put it away and then I began to focus on Miro and other work like that that dealt with colour and line and form. That’ll come in later. So my newer work is much more designed as you can probably figure out. There’s more of my hand on it actually, because of the cold working and it’s much more thought out. I choose how things are going to go. I don’t rely on accidents. If an accident happens, I think of it as a problem. I never used to think of it as a problem. I always thought of it as being a wonderful thing to happen. It has been a journey. I’ve been ill for the last few years. I think I’m coming out of a very bad time. And I wanted to make works of beauty, which I think I have, because I thought we need more of that and that’s helpful. I’ll talk about that later. So yes it has been a journey. And I guess in my work, I’m not really separating from my work. I guess I’m making work now that speaks more to me; that speaks to me as I always did. Only maybe I’m looking for different things now.
Hi Irene. The gaze in your figurative sculptures is very interesting. Why are the eyes always cast downward or away from the viewer?
IF: That’s a good question. I am also interested in the gaze of the subject. There’s a reason why my heads are turned down and looking down. And I think it related to the fact that an artist has to look in and look out at the same time. So, the figures, by having their heads down, are introspective and looking down into themselves and yet of course they’re looking out at the same time. So that’s important; it doesn’t confront. They’re more introspective. So that’s that. And another reason is I want the viewer to get up closer to it and I’ve sometimes seen, when my work is in galleries, that people bend down and look up in the face and I like that feeling that it draws the viewer in and it’s a moment of power for the artist when you can get somebody to get up really close and to take a very, very close look at the work. So that’s what I was thinking about. That is a very interesting question.
I’m also wondering then, you talk about the experience for the viewer. Are you wanting them to follow the gaze of the sculpture? Do you want them to look where that’s looking? Is that part of it?
IF: No, I’ve never thought of that. I’ll have to think of that. I don’t think so. I want them to get close and I want them to bend a little.
That’s awesome. Thanks so much.
Hi. During the Holocaust, coloured inverted triangle badges were sewn on shirts to identify the reason a prisoner was placed inside a concentration camp. Gay, lesbian and feminist communities have reclaimed the pink and black triangles as a symbol of the fight against oppression. Is there a connection between these usages of the triangle symbol and the use of triangular-shaped bases in your work?
IF: Thank you. That was the most interesting question that I’ve ever had. And it really made me think about my work so much more because, no, that was certainly not an intention at all. But I don’t think you students can understand how powerful these questions are to the artist when you ask questions that open up things the artist never thought about. So I thank you very much for that question. But that’s something that I hadn’t thought about. And indeed this new work seriously has very little to do with my earlier work which was more based on that. But, wow, what a question. So, no, I don’t think so. The reason they’re triangular-shaped is I’m getting canny as an older artist and I’m learning about colour and glass and it’s thickness, and how to get the most out of form. The things they tried to teach me when I was at art school the first time around and I was so busy pouring out all this work that I didn’t pay attention. So it has more to do with that. But that’s a really interesting question. Thank you.
The touch of the hand of the artist appears to change dramatically in the surfaces of your older to newer work. What is the significance of this change?
IF: I’m not sure what you thought had more touch of the hand of the artist, the old work or the new work. In actual fact the new work has much more the touch of the hand of the artist, or the artisan, than the old work. The old work was just some miracle gush that happened when I was working but the newer work does have the touch and the eye of the artist. I’m taking a lot more responsibility now for my work than I did before. I choose the colours very carefully. The newer pieces that you see, they’re all at least three different colours mixed in together. They’re not like “ out of the crayon-box” colours. There’s a lots of cold working involved and I’m much more meticulous. So there is much more of “art” to the later pieces than the early ones. I’m probably deciding that maybe I’m an artist and there are certain things I’m responsible for. I used to just be a person that had some feelings that had to get out but I think there’s another layer been added.
We’ve noticed a big change in the touch of the hand from the old work to the new work and agree with you that the newer work has much more of the touch of the hand. Can you talk about the strategy behind that?
IF: Oh, the design strategy. Ok, well I’m a good Libinsky student and he often talks about thick and thin making different shifts in colour. So, yes, the shaft that holds my latest pieces, of which I think I’m only going to do one or two more, because, you know, you get tired of it, that shaft with the two triangles is very artfully conceived so that you get a lot of different colour play in it. You can’t see it because I only sent you one pose but there’ll be a thinness up the middle where the two triangles meet and a thickness on the side and then the points that come down. And with this beautiful glass that I use, it all shows as different colour. And then the roundness in the face, the curve of the cheek, and the lips; it just makes the glass look differently than it did. So I pay a lot of attention to that. I delight in that, actually, like a baby. Oh, it’s so beautiful. So there’s a lot of design and years of experience, too, of knowing how it’s going to react. Because if you just make something in glass, unless you over-exaggerate and work at certain modeling of the surface, you’re not going to get your money’s worth. You might as well make it out of some other material – plaster or something.
Absolutely. I would agree with you one hundred percent. Thanks, Irene.
Your newer figurative work appears to be sculpted/designed so that they “contain” light in the head. Could you speak to the containment of light in these pieces?
IF: Yes, I can. I think I sort of started to think about it earlier, in the question before. But definitely they’re all about containing colour and light and beauty which are all mixed in together and, as I said, that harkened back to some of that earlier work that I started to turn to: Miro, and the shafts of colour and the line of colour. So, what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to roll all of this beauty of colour and light all together into a big, potent package of beauty. Sort of like a pill, a beauty pill that you can take that might cure the world or myself or whatever. I’m trying to make them as full of colour and light as I possibly can. I did a number of series on that. And one of them was something that I called Fierce Beauty. I’m trying to make them fiercely beautiful. And fierce means fire-fully intense or passionate, and beauty is grace, symmetry and refinement. I’m sort of trying to roll all these things up into work. I still have a long way to go but that’s what I’m thinking of. It’s like two ideals that exist at the same time, fierceness and beauty. And the line on which they dwell is very active and crackling.
So do you use your colours as a symbol for certain traits? Like, red is seen sometimes as a symbol for vitality, courage, or self-confidence. Do you look at these colours as metaphors or symbols for what you’re trying to achieve?
IF: Yes, I am. And red – yes. Yes, yes, although I did a whole series of white, which was also beautiful. But it was more of an opaque glass and didn’t hold the colour. But, it’s not just red that I use. I like to use all the warm colours, which I think suit figurative work better anyway.
Regarding the light in some of your figure’s heads, are you connecting it all to spirituality or are you speaking to a healing or rebirth through that light?
IF: That light – I think it’s more of a fierce light that I’m trying to produce, more than spirituality which I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that. Healing in a fierce and very active way. And actually when I was very ill, I started the series and worked my head off, so to speak, just to try to be as fierce and active and positive as I possibly could to create them. So, to answer your question, yes to those things but not in sort of a passive way but in a very active artistic maker kind of way.
Are there specific reasons that you used window glass in your earlier work? A window is often seen as metaphor for viewing things. Is there any relationship between the narrative history of windows and your usage of this material to create a surface that looks worn and opaque?
IF: Actually, it had nothing to do with windows. The reason I used that glass was that it was free and I got it out of a dumpster. And it actually came from a factory. Although, people often call it window glass, it really was plate glass. It was a furniture factory that made shelving and things like that so the glass was at least ” thick. So in my mind I never really thought of it as window glass although I guess it was. I thought of it as something I’d scavenged from a dumpster and through the heat of the fires of the kiln became something beautiful. So it had more to do with the passage through fire of something that maybe was almost dead or gone, passage through fire to reanimate a person. And, again, the beauty of survival. And through the scrap heaps through fire to survival. And, again, that had a lot to do with my past personal history as to where I had come from and where all my family stories were and everything like that. So that was definitely the connection. Not so much windows.
Hello. Could you discuss the mold making and casting process used to create your earlier work?
IF: I will tell you. The models were made out of clay. I hadn’t learned yet how to work with wax. So everything was made with clay and very sort-of stumpy and coarse so that after I made the mold I could dig the clay out with my hand. So that was the first thing. The mold material was basically plaster silica, 50/50. And I started on this series when I was already showing in several shows in New York when I was still a student at OCA so everything was done at school and everything was basically more-or-less self-taught. I really had no idea how to do anything. So I would make these molds out of plaster silica. Oh, and I would make a steel cottle. When you pour your molds what do you pour into?
Sometimes I use the wooden cottles, but I do hand-made molds as well.
IF: Oh, that’s the way you’re supposed to do it now. But in those days I just poured them and I made a cottle out of steel, very thin gauge black steel, not galvanized, but black steel, which I would spot-weld together. So I’d put it on the table and just pour the stuff in there. The reason I put it into steel was I’d had so many accidents in the kiln where my molds would crack. You know what happens when molds crack. So I decided I’m going to put them in something that won’t crack. So I put them in there. And then in order to get the colour that you see in some of my older pieces – the blacks and oranges and the greens – I would make a mixture of copper powder, silica sand, carpenter glue and water. And there was about a teaspoonful of copper powder, a teaspoonful of silica sand and an equal amount of glue and then enough water that it seemed like Hershey’s syrup. And then I would drool that mixture into the mold. Got me so far? I mean, after I removed the plate. Then I would let it sit upside down over night so that it would all sort of drool out; it wouldn’t pool at the top. Although sometimes I would forget and it would pool at the top, which was bad. And then I would put it in the kiln with the plate glass which I would fill the mold with. And then began the long firing and I would keep topping up the mold with plate glass until it was full. And when it came out, of course the molds were very badly cracked because I didn’t have a clue how as to how to make a mold. But they didn’t burst because they were in the steel. So the piece would come through all full of flanges and … what are those things called? See I’ve already forgotten. I lived by those. I made my reputation on them!
IF: Flashing! Right. And sometimes I’d knock the flashing off and that was the only bit of glassiness that would show. And the only cold working I did was I that I had a balpeen hammer and that was about it. And I would just bang at the piece and bang off these things and that was it. Very straight forward. My teacher used to call it the Fred Flintstone method of kiln casting. So, that’s how it was done. Basically no fear. But I want to say something about that. The illness that I’ve had for the last few years, I’ve had an autoimmune illness, a very unusual kind of illness, and it’s affecting my eyes but it can also affect the lungs. No one knows where it came from. And I sometimes wonder if burning all that copper and even the steel – because the steel would disintegrate – if that maybe was not the smartest thing to do in the world. So I’m telling what I did but I’m cautioning you not to do that. Don’t burn metal with your molds. It’s not worth it, believe me. Do you have any other questions on the mold making?
What about your newer work? How are they created; not using the same technique, I guess?
IF: With the newer work, they’re made with wax and then it’s steamed out. And I use a flowerpot on top now to put the billets into that drools into the mold. I used to make my molds the way you make them now and for years I taught that as my religion of building up the mold in layers using plaster silica and talc and then plaster silica and grog. But now I do something else. I buy a mold material from England. It has to be imported from New Jersey. I have to buy 1200 pounds at a time. It’s very expensive. But at this rate, with the expensive glass I’m using, I can’t afford any mistakes. So I use that mold material which is wonderful. It doesn’t crack or anything like that. But I think you still using a built-up mold would be fine. Also because my pieces are very heavy – there’s sometimes 60 pounds of glass in there and so tall – I’m so terrified that the mold will split open, which it doesn’t.
What is the name of that mold material you import?
IF: I knew you were going to ask me that. I think it’s called Crystalex or something like that. And my studio mate in Toronto used to buy it and we have to order a skid-load at a time. And the only North American importer is this place in New Jersey, but I can let you know by e-mail more details. There are all kinds of warnings on that one too, but they seem to be silica-based warnings so you have to be careful with a respirator and things like that.
I had a question. I wanted to ask you if there is spirituality imbued in your work. And I think you answered that a little bit in the positive that you think there is. Is that right?
IF: Spirituality and beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder.
Right, right, but I’m thinking that some of your work seems to radiate a bit. Not physically but, see I don’t know how to explain this very well, but I think that by the maker’s hands being all over a piece, something of the maker goes into that piece. And so, I guess that is just what I wanted to ask you is if you think there can be a certain type of spirituality that ends up in any work?
IF: That is my wish, and my great desire. And of course I would like to say the answer is yes, but only if you see it. I can be as spiritual as I want over my work and that’s sort of what I think I’ve learned after all these years is you have to know how to do it and how to express it in whatever field you choose whether it’s writing or sculpture or painting. So, I wish that were true and I hope it is.
I think it is true with your work and I think it’s also the responsibility of the viewer, that the viewer has something to do with that, whether or not they stay and look at something long enough to read anything out of it. So it’s not just in the hands of the maker, I think. But I do think that your work exudes spirituality and that it’s lovely.
IF: Thank you very much.
You’re welcome. Thank you.
Hi Irene. I’m going to ask you a question now. When we were doing our testing, I was telling you the story about me hiring a legally blind carpenter in Newfoundland and your immediate reaction was that his work must be amazing – which it is – and you were just talking about your own health challenges and how it was affecting your eyesight. Do you find, as an artist and a maker, diminished eyesight impacts your work? And does it impact your work positively or would you say it impacts your work negatively? And as a society that views any physical impairment as a disability, would you challenge that notion, as a maker having an impairment? Were you disabled?
IF: I was disabled for about a year and half and I think in that year and half I accomplished some of the best work, I feel, that I have made. The early work, of course, was a lot of …?? but I found my second wind. I learned to use my hands more and the feel of the piece and that’s why they’re so smooth and they feel wonderful. I also had to get a lot of people to help me. For a couple of shows that I had, I had to get a whole team of people to help me because I couldn’t really see into the darkness of the wax. I couldn’t really see what I was making. I could only feel it. So, I’m out of that valley now. I’ve had a couple of surgeries and I can see. I can drive again. I couldn’t drive for two years. So I’m out of that now. I’m also noticing, I went and saw a piece and said, “Is that what it looks like? It’s horrible! How could you let that out of the studio?” Because everything, to me, was just this absolute glow.
Hi Irene. I saw you give a presentation in Nelson a few years ago, and one of the topics you talked about was the influence of literature and literary theory and critique on your work. And I was wondering if you could talk about that a little bit.
IF: Well, it influences me a lot. I love poetry and for the last few years one of the great sorrows was that I was not able to read. I’m just now starting to read again. So that’s wonderful. How does it affect me? I don’t know; it seems to just be a well from which I draw. I’m very sensitive to the spoken word. Even though I find my work to be mute, my work is mute, but there must be a voice in my head that’s full of language and …? As a matter of fact, I think you were asking me about colour and beauty in my new work and there’s a poem by Andrew Marvell called “To His Coy Mistress.” You probably know it. One of the lines towards the end says, “Let us roll all our strength, and all/ Our sweetness, up into one ball;/ And tear our pleasures with rough strife/ Through the iron gates of life.” And that in a way exemplifies or talks about the work that I’m trying to make now. I don’t have anything more of a formal explanation than that. That poem, by the way, was called “To His Coy Mistress” if you want to read the rest of it. It’s an old chestnut. Anybody that’s taken a literature course at college probably has read it. He’s basically trying to seduce this young woman; that’s basically what it’s about.
Irene, I know that you’ve been traveling to China lots because of your husband’s connection with culture and China and his studies. You mentioned a couple of western artists that you found profoundly influential. Is there art or architecture or people in China that you feel have influenced you in your work?
IF: That’s a very interesting question, Tyler. Being in China did influence me. I didn’t really realize it. But I lived in China with my family and my husband during the Cultural Revolution back in the early 70′s when China was basically a very closed-up world and we were sort of kept away from everybody. And at that time there was no idea that I would ever become an artist, never mind a glass artist. I was a mother of three young children in Beijing. But one thing that did influence me, now when I think back on it, was the Buddhist figures, the Buddhist faces on the carvings, which were not evident in China then because it was during the Cultural Revolution and all those things were either destroyed or hidden. I’m sure that this kind of gaze that my pieces have, the stoicism, I’m sure has something to do with it. And the other thing, though, the people at that time lived in great fear and they all had these beautiful but very guarded faces. Nothing showed on those faces but you knew but there had to be all kinds of turmoil. Now that I look back on it I’m sure that that influenced much of my work. As far as artists today, there’s a lot of wonderful, wacky stuff that’s going on in China now. Every time I go back, I’m just so happy about the relative freedom, which is the way it was before. Everybody’s in art school, everybody’s getting an MFA in the sense that people are trying all kinds of things that we’re not doing so much here anymore. We’ve gotten so tied to the red dots and the sticker that we’re not allowing ourselves to do as much as we did back in school. I’m delighting in seeing some of the installation art that I’m seeing coming out of China. And of course there’s a wonderful painter, whose name I can’t remember, who paints portraits of Cultural Revolution faces. They’re in the grey and white and black. They’ll be like a couple being …?? and the couple is white and black. Only being allowed one child, that child becomes the future and the most precious object that they have. I haven’t been back for a year and half now. I’m hoping to go back again soon. Thank you for the question.
Thank you, Irene.
Irene, I would like to ask you about your installation work. I think we’ve had a decent look at your figurative work. But I haven’t had much experience seeing any of your installation work and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what it is and what the theme or thematic is. I have a picture in my head of being something like what Christian Boltanski does, but I’m probably completely off base there.
IF: Well, I wish. It is mostly black and white, as his work is, but what the installation work is, well the last one I did, is a series of huge drawings about 10′x20′ long on dark paper. And it’s actually Tyvek – the white house wrap. Well, they make a grey one too; I forget what it’s called. It’s got fibre and looks like it’s all hairy and fibrous. Ok, so it’s on that, done with charcoal and white conte. So, one reviewer once said it looks like a family slide show like a black and white slide show on the drawings. And the drawings, the last set I did which was called “Scar” which had to do with memory and healing the wound, what I talked about earlier, and art was the scar that was left. And it was drawings of family and each one of them had a different veil on it. One was a little girl that came out of a thicket and that was a picture of me when we just came to Canada. And she looks like she just escaped from something, with a little smile on her face. Over that was a veil of glass glyphs that I had made – things that look like letters or writing but you can’t decipher it. And it has to do with the stories a child is told when they’re little that you hear but you don’t really understand what they’ve told you. So that was one. Another one was a figure with her hands down and with her hands down together like this. (Demonstrates) You see that? And the veins are exposed and she’s got her head down and that’s sort of like an artist when she shows her work. Or he shows his work. You’re so vulnerable; you work with your hands. It’s mostly about the hands, but the veins are so close to the surface and you’re so vulnerable to any kind of mishap but you do it anyway. And the veil on that was these drops of glass – hundreds of them – that sort of came down on it. I pulled some cane and cut it up and hung each one separately. And there was this wonderful glisten. One big drawing was a family picture of my grandmother, my great-great-grandmother and an aunt, just before the war broke out. And it was the most loving family picture I’d ever seen. They were just beaming into the camera, smiling. And the veil I put on that was barbwire about an inch apart strung horizontally. But you couldn’t really see it was barbed wire because it’s such a cliché. It was new barbed wire and you couldn’t really tell what it was until you got almost on top of the picture. So there’s love coming through that. So that was one of the installations I did. And I did some others. I could send you images if you want.
That would be fantastic. I would love to see them. So the veil kind of operates as a kind of lens for the viewer to see things through the way that the glass and light sparkle and enhance the viewing of the installation by the audience.
Unfortunately it was at this point that the Internet problems accelerated and the last part became undecipherable.