Ruth McCallum Howell

It could be said that pictorial symbols and simulacra are part of our genetic encoding, and symbols are one way that we interpret what we experience in the world.

Most of the artwork I produce derives its inspiration and fascination from the relationships we all appear to share with our environment. If there exists an apparent underlying order within chaos; at the same time we have to accept that there must also be chaos within apparent order. And so; much of my work explores the concepts of predetermined randomness within the natural world, and also the aesthetic results that arise from the competition and coexistence of elements within any given system. The  aesthetic results of this are interlocking and repeating cycles, and competing systems vying for space. My impetus is to provide the visual stimulus to excite the amazing pattern recognition system that is hardwired into our brains.

All of the works I make are unique, as both the original model and casting mold are destroyed in the process. I model the positive form in closed cell architectural foam, as it allows me to work at the scale I enjoy without the weight of wax or clay when sculpting the form. A mold similar to an open cast bronze mold is made over the original, using silica flour, plaster and fibreglass… strong enough to contain molten glass, but flexible enough to withstand the physical forces at work in such mass. The foam is retro-engineered into its ingredients (foam turned to goo) and removed from the mold leaving the void of exactly the glass shape I require.

The Dichroic glass has been poached from the structural colours in nature such as butterfly wings and peacock feathers. The inclusion of Dichroic glass within my cast sculptural glass remains an ideal vehicle for to express this overriding idea of perception that I explore. If what you see depends on where you “stand” (physically, politically, intellectually) ; then this idea is truly embodied in the colour shifts that occur as you change your physical location to view my work.

Our brains are wonderful pattern recognition machines.I intend for my artwork to provide visual information, but not ever a physical description of an object. How others see my work is truly what it is, for each; unique memory.

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