Welcome to my Play Land (Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, 2017)


Although I would never deny the power of art to effect social change or at least foster enlightenment, I disagree that profundity or controversy should be art’s only raison d’être. There is a place for humour in art, and arguably, in difficult times, a place for art that produces a smile. 

This year I presented my glass/mixed media sculptural still lifes in a more conceptual arrangement. With few exceptions, I grouped the pieces into stories or ideas, most of which make sense with a little bit of thought. To a large extent, the pieces come from my (mostly happy) experiences as a middle-class child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, which I hope will produce sparks of recognition from viewers who shared that experience as a guinea pig of the modern food industry, and/or life with a mom who didn’t really like to cook.

The Greeks argued that good poetry should “instruct and delight,” and this criterion has also been applied to visual art over the ages. If I lean towards “delight” in my concepts, I am also happy to “instruct” when it comes to the technical aspects of producing this glass. I have invested countless hours of work in these pieces, with dozens of firings, interminably tedious cold work, and questionably healthy chemical applications. Since kiln-formed (warm) glass is often a mystery to those more familiar with the rock-star magic of blown (hot) glass, I’ve included in posts below some videos detailing my processes. 

And in the meantime, if you smile, or you start to feel a little peckish after you see these pieces, my work is done.

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© Janet Panabaker 2017