UP! (four pieces)


The New York Times on February 17 of this year reported that the US government is proposing to launch a decade-long project to “build a comprehensive map” of the human brain, its 100 billion neurons, and it’s activity,  similar to the Human Genome Project for genetics research – “The Brain Activity Map” Project.  

So what does this mean for glass as an art medium fifty years from now?

My guess is that we are headed towards the ultimate in “bespoke” sculpture – where the link between perception and emotional response, be it awe, joy, despair, rapture, or even revulsion, can be tailored specifically to each individual.

In previous thoughts on the dimensions of what makes good and great sculpture (see Habatat International Catalogues No. 38 and 39, or this site) I’ve argued that great form, intense color, compelling narrative, and visual motion are some of the key ingredients necessary for great sculpture.  I now need to add a fifth ingredient:  emotional response.

I would guess that everyone has a favorite piece or area of the “arts” that evokes strong personal emotions.  For me, the Rothko Chapel, Monet’s Waterlilies, Picasso’s Guernica, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and even Stonehenge all evoke emotional responses that are difficult to put into words, but exceeding powerful and almost addictive none the less.   In the musical arts, Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies and almost anything by Bach do the same.

Glass is a medium that has that same potential to speak directly to each individual, and evoke strong emotions that few other stimuli can provide.

Enabled by a new understanding of the human brain “map”, my prediction is that 50 years from now the sculptural client will visit the artist’s physical/electronic “studio”, specify the set of emotional responses he or she wishes to experience when viewing their personal sculpture, and the artist will be able to design a specific, individually-tailored, “bespoke” sculpture to achieve the “contracted” emotional state (s).

My small beginning contribution to this perceptual revolution is “UP!”.  I’m strongly affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD);  on sunny days I’m “up”, and on cloudy days “down”.  Yellow for me evokes the promise of Spring and seasonal renewal. It helps battle the dark emotional months of Winter, and it promises joy and hope for the future.  The triangular forms are a small tribute to Sir Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking experiments with light and color, and the beginning of the scientific revolution.

In this sculpture, I’ve tried to encapsulate the form, color, light, motion, and hope of Spring (and Science), as sunlight strengthens and nature emerges again from the winter snows --  to grow “UP!”.   Hopefully this is a case of “artist, heal thyself “ –   50 years ahead of its time.

Copyright © 2019  JBWood. All rights reserved.  | Copyright Information