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Artist of the Month
June 2017

Artist of the Month

Carmen Vetter

Studio glass artist Carmen Vetter is interested in the mechanics of seeing and the manner in which an object’s surface conveys its history. Through the layering of various textures of glass frit and powder in multiple firings, Vetters’ fused-glass wall panels feature an interplay of light, color, luster and texture that combines technical finesse with spontaneity. Carmen Vetter is represented by LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.

Carmen Vetter

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

My work is, at its most basic, a study of surface, texture, and pattern. I have always been drawn to repeating pattern, perhaps because of its universality. I am looking for connectivity, commonness, and relationship. The finished work could be observed as eroded stone, cellular structure, and lichen; or on a macro level as aerial views of cities, land formations, glaciers, and coastlines. The relationship between these surfaces and the things that underlay them – their unique histories, the unseen events that preceded them and created them, the mystery of what they are becoming – is what truly interests me. I seek the intrinsic.

Glass is a magical medium: Chameleonic and immutable at the same time; the possibilities for color and texture, for surface, are endless. Because of this, when I start new work I like to use simple tools for the exploration of ideas. I like parameters, and especially in the beginning stages I find that limiting tools, size, and color has been very helpful for ideation.

 Before I even think about glass I make small watercolor and pen drawings, and when I see a concept developing I move on to printmaking. Both of these have become integral to my process, and the cross pollination between the mediums has been productive.

Recently I have discovered encaustic collagraph, where I print from plates layered with thin coats of wax. The relief realized through the addition and removal of these coats of wax relates very directly to the way I add and remove glass powders in cumulative firings.

Over time, I have learned to trust my own ideas. The things that interested me fifteen years ago are still interesting, even though the expression of them has changed. Whenever I begin new work I carry forward something from before. Previously I incorporated hexagonal grids as basic structure. I took one single hexagon from that grid and used it as a new beginning. During the drawing stage that simple shape began to resemble a small world, and it morphed and stretched into polygonal shapes. These felt like they could be anything, and I loved the expanse of that.

Much of my work in glass has been about surface. It infers touch, the seen, the exposed, and inversely the depths beneath. It exposes and reveals, considering the relationship and similarities in things both colossal and infinitesimal. The removal of unanimated material discloses both the intimate and the unfamiliar, joining concept and process. I like the big picture. My work is a way of connecting the dots. I am inspired by the patterns of life, cycles of destruction and renewal, and the interrelation of everything. Surface is what we see, but only the indicator of what cannot be seen...Surface is the effect of the cause.

About Carmen Vetter

Carmen Vetter forges elaborate glass arrangements that reflect her interest in both optical perception and artistic intuition. Her elegant abstractions can at times evoke aerial, macroscopic views of the earth; of arctic forests, or where nature meets civilization – but just as often, extreme close-up views of icy water or cellular structures. Throughout all of Vetter’s art is a propensity to evoke through a combination of visual texture and abstraction, and the result is testament to both the versatility of glass as well as Vetter's uncommon ability to draw out its atmospheric beauty. “The relationship between these surfaces and the things that underlie them – their unique histories, the unseen events that preceded them and created them, the mystery of what they are becoming –is what truly interests me,” Vetter writes. “I seek the intrinsic.”

Carmen Vetter has been working with kiln-formed glass since 1999. In addition to serving as a guest lecturer at the esteemed Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, she has exhibited in museums across the country and has been reviewed by prominent publications including Urban Glass Quarterly, The Corning New Glass Review and Art and Antiques. 

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Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico, for providing the Artist of the Month.

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The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.