This week at the galleries was definitely my favorite. Mostly because of Maccabee Shelley’s glass-work sculpture pieces.
They intrigued me because of the mix of colors and different shapes. A lot of the glass initially looked like crystals or precious gems excavated from the Earth. Every piece looked so delicate, but also fierce with it’s jagged edges. I noticed pretty quickly that none of his pieces had titles but was interested in all of them and wondered what he was trying to convey. I loved the blue piece above mostly because of it’s beautiful coloring and also because it looked like a mineral that was dug up from the ground.
The piece above puzzled me because I couldn’t understand it’s purpose or place it into a category, my imagination was coming up short. So I went to talk to Maccabee Shelley to find out his inspiration behind the pieces and why he did not put titles on his works. What I found was pleasing. Shelley informed me the the glass medium in itself is what inspired him to create these sculptures. He, like myself, finds glass fascinating to look at yet dangerous. It is fragile, but can endure lifetimes. He collects the glass from recycling centers to renew the glass, to use it differently than we do every day. He aims to take the ordinary and make it into something foreign, so that we question what it is.
The piece below was my favorite and when I looked at it, it reminded me of an underwater reef with corals and anemones but I wasn’t sure if that was what I was supposed to see. When I asked why he didn’t have titles to go with the works he stated that he didn’t want to put a statement on it so it only belong to one category, to one world. Shelley wants people to look at his work and imagine a world where it would exist, to create our own story and our own interpretation. He believes that once you have categorized an object, that you loose interest in further exploring that object. I had never though of that before, but I found that I agreed. I might have not put as much thought into his work if I had a title to tell me what it was.
The process of each piece, each tower like in the picture above can take up to a week of intense work. The sculpture above could have taken between 2-3 months. First he collects the material from recycling centers, then he creates molds to shape the glass. Next, he melts the glass around he mold in layers, creating different colors. Lastly, he removes them from the mold and sometimes uses vinyl or enamel paint to add even more colors to the opaque glass. I really admire the process and his dedication to creating something uniquely beautiful.
You can learn more about Maccabee Shelley at: