Marc Petrovic brings “hot origami” to Centre’s glass studio

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Campus, News 21 Nov 2013

Renowned glass artist Marc Petrovic recently visited Centre’s hot glass studios to share his unique brand of art with students and faculty.

Petrovic graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art and now resides in Essex, Conn., with wife and fellow glass artist Kari Russell-Pool. He has experimented with a number of different techniques and styles, including “Find and Seek,” a collection of letters trapped in glass spheres that spell out hidden words, and “Aviary,” arresting mixed media pieces that incorporate maps, marbles and beautifully worked glass birds into a commentary on location and direction.

Petrovic recently returned to this theme with “Avians,” large-size glass birds made in an intricate and painstaking process.

Marc Petrovic works on a bird sculpture while Centre students and faculty observe.

“I pixelate by making my own murrini—slices of variously colored glass canes,” he explains. “I assemble and fuse these slices into abstract patterned tablets, which I view as fully realized deconstructed birds while also forming them, through my own, ‘hot origami’ process, into sentient birds.”

Graduate Assistant in Studio Art and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art D.H. McNabb ’02 finds Petrovic’s unique method particularly valuable to his students.

“Marc is not a straightforward glass blower but a sculptor,” Mcnabb says. “In his current work, he is making birds where the primary form is manipulated from pre-fused pieces of sheet glass—through this approach, he achieves a feather-like look. The students will get to see how different patterns can be constructed in glass.”

Feathery fauna have been and continue to be a great source of inspiration to Petrovic.

“For nearly two decades, I have employed birds and bird imagery as a metaphor for my ruminations on relationships, parenting, home, shelter and geographical identification,” he explains. “As an artist, I’ve been drawn to the ideas of identity that grow out of a sense of place and self. In my newest series, Avian, I take a closer look at this subject as I pixelate, deconstruct and then reconstruct these birds. They are built much like we are—one piece, or experience, at a time.”

McNabb values the opportunity Petrovic’s visit gives to current art students at Centre.

“It’s important for students to see different methodologies and approaches to not only the making but also the thinking that goes into one’s work,” McNabb explains. “By bringing in Marc, we’re able to show different approaches to the material and a thought process that students would not necessarily be exposed to.

“The hope is that a spark will be set through the students,” he continues, “that enables them to reach some conceptual conclusion about their own work and gain a unique perspective into the manipulation of material that Marc offers.”

Indeed, Petrovic’s glass pieces, though experimenting with the unique physical properties of glass that give it such fantastic shape and color, are ultimately driven by concepts and ideas.

“My pieces revolve around ideas that both intrigue and befuddle me,” he explains. “At the nucleus of each sculpture is an idea around which the piece grows. In a sense, the way a grain of sand aggravates the oyster enough that it creates a pearl.”

Learn more about studio art at Centre.

By Mariel Smith

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