THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE JULY 2015 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE.
On view in the Museum Shop Exhibition space of the Islip Art Museum is a selection of glassworks by Ida-Christel Siebke. The exhibition, Stepping Stones, consist of hand-made glass bricks that each encase a single key. The bricks are arranged across the exhibition space to mimic that of actual brick walls. The bricks are part of a larger installation the artist will complete in October during the New York Contemporary Artists Symposium (NYCAS), an international artist residency program and project of the Islip Art Museum. In additional to the glass bricks, the exhibition includes several of Siebke’s glass plates, which were used by the artist to create printed works on paper.
Each brick is individually made through hot pour casting, a process that involves ladling molten glass from a furnace and pouring it into a mold. Once the first layer of the brick is cooled, the key is placed and a second layer of molten glass is poured on top, encasing the key within a brick of glass. Due to the intense heat of the liquid glass, the artist has to use keys of superior properties, such as iron, copper, and bronze, to ensure the keys do not melt when introduced to the molten glass.
The keys within the bricks act as something that is desirable but ultimately unattainable if one wishes to keep the brick itself intact. For example, if one glass brick is representative of the illusion of oneself that is projected through social media, then the key inside could signify the individual’s true self – something that is on display for others to see, but unobtainable for any other to possess and understand.
Like pieces of a puzzle, each brick is meant to be a part of something larger. Each brick is a stepping-stone to something more final. If the glass house is meant to our ideal selves, each brick is representative of one personal aspect of the overall person. Bricks will be removed over time when they become cracked and broken and can no longer support the structure. Just like how these bricks will change over time, as the person evolves.
As with the bricks, the glass plates on exhibit are meant to be seen as stepping stones; as they are used to create printed works on paper and are not meant to be finished works of art on their own. By exhibiting these bricks as they are alongside the printing plates, Siebke offers the viewer a glimpse through her artistic process, revealing the tools and methods behind her work.
Ida-Christel Siebke is a certified glassblower from Oslo, Norway. She has studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, AYA Glass Studio in Japan, and the Kosta Glascenter in Kosta, Sweden. She received the Lise and Arnfinn Hejes Scholarship in 2008 and 2009 and has held Glassblowing Assistant positions at numerous glass studios in Norway and around the world. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Norway and Sweden.
Stepping Stones, curated by Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Director/Sr. Curator Beth Giacummo, runs in conjunction with the museum’s main exhibition, I AM Pocket Sized. Curated by Rhonda Cooper, I AM Pocket Sized is the museum’s annual open call exhibition and features miniature artwork from artists from all over the world. Both exhibitions are on display at the Islip Art Museum from June 28 – September 13, 2015 with a reception on Sunday, June 28, from 1 – 4 PM.
Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Assistant/Jr. Curator
Islip Art Museum
50 Irish Lane
East Islip, NY 11730