This triptych Glass Pyrograph was specifically designed for the entrance foyer for the Bellevue Arts Museum for my solo exhibit Traces of the Molten State, curated by the museum director Stefano Catalani.
For the middle piece, my body movement with hot glass was ascending with an intention to make the marks powerful and earthy, while the other two pieces were opposite; descending body movement with an intention to make the marks gentle and watery.
Traces of the Molten State
Glass Pyrograph on paper
26 h x 13 w x 1 d feet
Exhibit Text by Stefano Catalani
Etsuko Ichikawa’s art is informed by the exploration of craft materials traditionally not associated with each other: glass and paper. Through her signature glass pyrography, Ichikawa exploits the viscous and transient nature of molten glass to capture and record the memory of the passing moment in the scorched impressions left on paper. For her first solo museum exhibition in the Northwest, the Japanese-born artist has created two installations: the reflective Walk with Mist in the Pilchuck Glass School Gallery and the monumental Traces of the Molten State–which lends its title to the exhibition–in the museum Forum. In Walk with Mist the artist has expanded her vocabulary of fire to project video over hundreds of hand blown glass balls.
Transforming the usual blowpipe of the glassblower into a glass-dipped brush with no bristles, the artist moves rapidly across the surface of the paper emblazing it, blistering it, and leaving a permanent trace of the ephemeral, fleeting state of the glass. The results are tendril-like organic forms, compelling in both their elegant simplicity and textural complexity.
Ichikawa’s art examines and puts on display process as the shaping force bestowing formal values upon the final artistic result. Time, so short and so essential to the making of glass pyrography, is both the driving and the limiting force in the realization of her art. Paradoxically, the urgency in the making of the pyrographs by the artist stands in contrast to the quiet, slow- paced and sacred environment offered to the audience.