Contemporary Art by Southern Artists

Jesse Durham

For years I often got in my truck and traveled to the northern Oregon coast from my home just across the border in Vancouver, Washington seeking a peace of mind from time to time. It was there I spent many hours walking the beaches in any weather looking into nooks and crannies of the steep rocky coastline made of ancient black volcanic flow dotted by coastal sands, grasses, and plants. Many times, I stopped and watched tidal pools at low tide observing the life in them and how they adapted to their situation and thought of the way the sea sustained them and violently, sometimes, took their world away…what they had come to rely on day to day. Yet, they carried on.

In these microcosms of migrant sea creatures, there were whole or fractured forms and lives of many kinds. Vivid colors in large variations. Sizes magnified at vacillating rates by differing water depths and the whole played on by the occasional beam of low winter sunlight streaming through or a slight wind vibrating the surface. All working together to manifest a magnificent scene sustained by the waters that created and destroyed. It is these pools and experiences that I’ve drawn from to create this body of work.  

As far back as I can remember I have often preferred the pieces that dropped on the floor in the glass studio to the ones that made it to the annealer for preserving. Light moving through broken or fractured glass fascinates me. The stresses created by crushing the semi-molten material with a hammer on an anvil and reheating it or chemicals added to the medium as it is worked on the blowpipe and shaped are richly compelling. I find wonder and fulfillment making pieces that include the common and the irregular, yet I felt for decades compelled to use formally accepted designs in glass art to illustrate it. I tried to make sense of this contradiction by balancing my efforts with shapes that owed existence to the traditional with methods and materials that diverge from the typical. I then gave this up finding the liberty to create the pieces you see in my store here. Thanks for taking the time to view them!
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