Released: Monday 7th October 2013 at 15:46
Jeffrey Sarmiento's mid-career exhibition premieres at National Glass Centre
5 October 2013 - 5 January 2014
Premiering at National Glass Centre, Constructions is a mid-career solo exhibition of new work by Jeffrey Sarmiento, supported by a publication and an international tour. Jeffrey Sarmiento’s sculptures utilise glassmaking technologies both ancient and modern to express the complexities that underpin cultural identity.
Digital design, waterjet cutting, silkscreen printing, kiln forming, hand-carving and polishing are combined in the physical construction of the artworks. He builds his objects from glass, using the material’s properties to manipulate the interplay of image and object. Exposing interpretations and fabrication, his concept of cultural constructions visualizes language, artefact, social history, and the urban landscape.
Jeffrey Sarmiento’s working methods for image transfer in glass have taken him all over Europe and the US as an artist and academic. As a Filipino-American, his work is inspired by foreign ethnic contexts, expressed through collisions of layered images within glass. His travels have inspired a fascination with local buildings, and his large-scale works refer to their possible meanings.
For Constructions he is creating works that explore image, object, architecture and uncovering identity through multiple cultural settings. The artworks include ‘portraits’ juxtaposing found imagery from disparate cultural backgrounds, from the Philippines to Northeast England, covered in tiny glass lenses. A thick glass Encylopaedia of sketches, photographs, text, and patterns condenses the collected cultural experience. Smaller works record the object biography of artefacts in the Sunderland Museum. Built like giant jigsaw puzzles, digitally cut façades such as Centre elevate mundane high-rise and tower block estates. New visual experiments with the gallery space include a scale model of a rope factory that spans the length of the gallery, and a reworking of a disused Norwegian greenhouse, in which the flaws in the glass are the starting point for an installation about seeking beauty in imperfection.
Constructions challenges the viewer to reconsider identity and how it might be expressed through the image and object.
Jeffrey Sarmiento - Book Launch and Artist Talk
28 November / 12.00 – 14.00
Notes to Editors
Jeffrey Sarmiento Artist statement:
My work is an exploration of culture from the perspective of a perpetual foreigner. Words, images, artefacts, and the urban landscape activate my curiosity, and challenge me to look deeper to uncover hidden narratives. Social history, biography (of people, objects, and buildings), anecdote, and fiction colour my interpretations, and I attempt to draw meanings beyond what is initially visible to construct a sense of place.
I am a maker of intricate glass objects. With them, I attempt to create connections within complex histories. It is the material that manipulates ways of seeing. I develop methods of combining glass with the graphic image, constructing layers of information and embedding the image within the object. The result is quite literally the fusion of form and content.
Whilst exposing the foreign within familiar histories of other people, my creative practice remains autobiographical. It is through the artwork that I can express myself and show the way I see the world around me. Paradoxically, It is how I make familiar what seems foreign.
On an approach to making:
My artwork is rooted in the expression of personal experience that inspires my ongoing dialogue with glass.
I think that I start from a position of curiosity about places I’m in (what I might in academic terms call ‘subject identification’). I tend to find the mundane actually a little unusual (one might even call it a search for quirks). If someone can tell me a good story about what it is that I’m looking at, it somehow transforms my understanding. A narrative, often complex and convoluted, allow me to see things in more than one way (a ‘multiplicity of contexts’). In my artwork I’m often trying to show these contexts all at the same time, and glass is a perfect medium in which to do this.
As a maker, I think it’s my dedication to the medium that gives me the ability to construct the glass in any way I want. In a way I’m dealing with the theme of construction in all my work, whether that is in a cultural way, or in the physical fabrication of the work.
On evolution, and where I think I’m heading:
My most recent artworks are an attempt to address this dual definition of construction, from concept to making, something that in my practice is fused together. In a residency at S12 in Bergen I challenged myself to attempting visual experiments with space, architecture and uncovering identity through new cultural settings. What I discovered along the with continued interplay of image and object were some new ways to build with glass, a new way to play with gallery space, and somehow finding a new definitions of beauty through flaws in the material. I continue to be inspired by architecture but am attempting to address issues of space within the gallery. My glass version of the Reperbane (rope factory) offers my impression of the seemingly endless horizontal scale of a local building. For good measure a piece of handmade Norwegian rope runs through the 7 metre long work.
Finally, I looked to a building that no longer exists for my biggest experiments during the residency. I used glass that has been reclaimed from a 1950s Norwegian greenhouse. Once the dirt was removed from its surface I realized its beauty marks—the glass was full of stones and cords, which Bachelard in The Poetics of Space refers to as ‘cysts’ in the glass. Beautiful Flaws pays tribute to finding faults in the glass and a daydream seeing the universe through them.
These recent artworks point me in new directions, and my artworks do vary dramatically in terms of their scale and execution. But I hope that they continue to hold onto their very personal roots and reveal my ideas, concepts, and passions through them.
My practice is interdisciplinary combining drawing, sculpture and film.
Head of Enterprise, Commissioning & the Studio
I am Head of Enterprise, Commissioning and the Studio at National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland, England and am a member of the Senior Management Team.
I am an Israeli artist based in the UK working primarily in kiln cast glass.
Glass Maker and Artist
I have worked at National Glass Centre since finishing my degree in 2005.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Sara Jo Harrison joined National Glass Centre in 2012 to support the Centre's marketing and Communications strategy.
My work uses a range of media which acknowledges the interface between both traditional practice and new media.
Learning and Engagement Officer
Rachel joined National Glass Centre in 2007 to support the Centre's learning and engagement programme having completed MA Glass the previous year.
Kalki Mansel is one of National Glass Centre's resident glass artists.
Artist in Residence
Glass Sculpture and Design
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