“…knowing the exact moment at which to capture a shift of light or expression and wrench the secret from the glass is what it is all about.”
Bertil Vallien, Map IV, 2017, Cast glass, 20.27 x 16.53 x 3.14″
MIAMI, FL: From the Crystal Kingdom in Sweden to the FORM Miami Exhibition, comes this exhibition of Bertil Vallien’s signature sand-cast glass works reflecting the artist’s thoughtful exploration of the multi-faceted relationship of the human journey. Vallien will also be traveling to attend the show.
Bertil Vallien’s focus on looking inward is achieved in myriad ways, one of which is his unique glassmaking technique. A leader in the Swedish glass industry for more than 40 years, Vallien formulated his own method for casting glass in sand that creates depth and radiance in the material. Artworks are driven not by their final appearance—although their visual impact is stunning—but rather by their content. Vallien’s preparatory sketches are carefully considered blueprints of both the external form and the inner details. Layers—both physical and psychological—are created through a multistep process. Surface textures result from the imprint of objects placed on the walls of the mold, which are also dusted with powdered metal oxides to release color. As the molten glass is poured into the mold, Vallien incorporates a variety of objects from sheet metal and glass threads, to figures and other colored forms. Once the glass cools, the suspended animation reveals itself in full glory. Light reflects off the brilliant surfaces and assorted angles of the perimeter, but more dramatically it emanates from within.
Vallien has said that “knowing the exact moment at which to capture a shift of light or expression and wrench the secret from the glass is what it is all about.” Just as his technical approach unearths internal “secrets,” so his visual motifs are explorations of the subconscious. The artist is motivated by various things—from stories he hears on the news, to people he has met, to his religious upbringing and questions about faith, to wars both historical and contemporary. Despite these concrete inspirations, the work is not meant to pose facile questions with prescribed answers. Umberto Eco wrote “I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret is as though it had an underlying truth.” Vallien’s art embraces this idea, transforming the events and experiences that inspire him into universal archetypes and symbols, upon which viewers layer their own perspectives. A shifting “truth” is created when two spirits—that of the artist and that of the viewer—coalesce. Through both physical expression and symbolic associations, Vallien senses the world from the inside out and opens this channel of experience to his viewer. Definitive answers become unnecessary, and an enlightened, empathetic, and open-minded ethos rises.
If You Go:
December 6-10, Bertil Vallien, FORM
The artist will be present.