By Dylan Katz

Artist statement

This collection of hand blown and hot sculpted glass pieces is the product of years of work studying Finnish lake ice formations and developing techniques to evoke their core essence in glass. Pattern, texture, structure, optics and form are all taken into account. 

The visual similarities between the glass sculptures and the ice which inspires them underscores the fact that the two materials are nevertheless near opposites. Man made glass, formed in the inferno of a furnace, can stay unchanged indefinitely. Ice, in stark contrast, is one of the most temporary solids imaginable existing only a frigid temperatures. 

The title, Uncanny Ice, is a reference to the phenomena known as the uncanny valley. As a simulacrum of human likeness becomes more and more realistic our emotional response to it drops dramatically. When faced, for example, with a near perfect robot, whose looks and expressions very nearly but not quite perfectly mimic our own, our reaction is typically one of deep unsettlement and often outright rejection. The uncanny similarities between the glass sculptures and natural ice formations of this series are intended to trigger a similar instinctual and emotional reaction.

In the context of this series, natural ice serves as a reference to the fragility of nature and the perils of global climate change. Glass as a material, and particularly artistic glass, likewise carries with it a larger conversation about how the ancient art form of glassblowing is currently in a state of existential crisis. Rising energy costs have made glass more expensive than ever to produce, forcing many artists and manufacturers to either scale back drastically or shut down all together.

The intention is to draw the viewer’s attention to the ongoing conflagration of crises and illicit an emotional and intuitive response. Years of scientific and intellectual investigation into the issue of man made climate change has produced irrefutable evidence that we are on a disastrous course, sadly little meaningful action has been taken in response. It is my belief that this is largely because we are wired to respond to danger only when it is felt rather than merely understood intellectually. By harnessing the power of art to create an emotional response I hope to encourage people to move beyond just thinking about climate change in an abstract way and inspire them to take meaningful action on the issue before it is too late.