Jeremy Popelka - Sand Cast Glass Process - January, 2014

Like much of my other cast glass sculptures this body of work is inspired by observation of natural forms and processes.  After a series of sketches and investigations, a wood mold is created and then often deconstructed.  The separate elements are then cast in glass sections and then once cooled assembled back into different forms.  Making the work in sections has allowed me to imply a sort of skeletal infrastructure to the whole form as well as entertain an adolescent conceit to putting the puzzle back together again.  In addition “Veiled Monuments” is a group of objects tied together as artifacts that allude to a personal interpretation of the forces that hold the Universe together.
 Jeremy begins the process by making wooden forms.

Jeremy begins the process by making wooden forms.

 Jeremy Popelka pouring glass into a sand mold at Pilchuk in 2005, photo courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Jeremy Popelka pouring glass into a sand mold at Pilchuk in 2005, photo courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Some of the pieces allude directly to mathematical equations and their uses in architecture .   “Catena”,   for example, is the Latin root of Catenary which refers to the curve created when hanging a link chain from two points and observing the shape it creates.  It literally refers to the links of a chain and how it represents the founding fathers connected creating one complete legacy in a literal form. Structurally a very strong form, a Catenarian curve has been utilized for centuries in structures and buildings.  At the same time its utilitarian origins seem to be derived from a natural form vaguely recognizable.  It is an example of how a mythological human historical overview, can be represented in an equation.  Often the calculations and examples in the natural world were linked to the idea that the clarity of the answer to an equation was confirmation of a divine origin.
 CATENA, Assembled Sand Cast Glass, 24 x 15 x 4"

CATENA, Assembled Sand Cast Glass, 24 x 15 x 4"

 Sand Mold section for COLLIDER right before being poured. The powder is ground glass and used as pigment.

Sand Mold section for COLLIDER right before being poured. The powder is ground glass and used as pigment.

Collider  is titled literally after the particle accelerators that are well known in Chicago and Switzerland.  The Cern collider in Switzerland, is a dramatic unprecedented apparatus that is stunning visually and may reveal the underlying structures of the Universe that have evaded physicists for millennia.  The cylindrical form that is presented in “Collider” is relatively flat and projects an optical illusion of depth and volume.  The curving of a flat form that projects three-dimensional shapes can in some ways be related to how light is bent by gravity.  Ultimately, this piece is about the vessel and how glass becomes a container to hold and define light.
 COLLIDER, Assembled Sand Cast Glass and Steel, 36 x 19 x 12"

COLLIDER, Assembled Sand Cast Glass and Steel, 36 x 19 x 12"

 GIBBOUS plywood molds.

GIBBOUS plywood molds.

The title “Gibbous” refers directly to a specific phase of the moon.   I have investigated historical astronomy and how devices were created to chronicle the phases of the moon and other heavenly bodies.  The ability for mankind to predict such things as the return of a comet or an upcoming eclipse was a monumental achievement that helped establish the Age of Enlightenment.  My work has blue objects that in different light project different phases like the moon.
 GIBBOUS, Assembled Sand Cast Glass, 17 x 10 x 3 1/2"

GIBBOUS, Assembled Sand Cast Glass, 17 x 10 x 3 1/2"

 Center section of Core after pouring into sand mold.

Center section of Core after pouring into sand mold.

 CORE, Assembled Sand Cast Glass, 19 x 12 x 6"

CORE, Assembled Sand Cast Glass, 19 x 12 x 6"

These descriptions of my work help to offer a glimpse into my artistic process and my approach to conceptualizing and executing my work.  My naïve take on science and its history is a tactic to glean imagery and ideas for forms that act as artifact to this methodology. The title “Veiled Monuments” is intentionally ambiguous like the answer to every piece of arts ultimate meaning.

~Jeremy Popelka