AFAS '08 Artists > Erika Von Zoog - Untitled
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Erika Von Zoog - Untitled

Figures in Glass – Fragile Harmonies I began working with kilnformed glass in 1995, and occasionally decorated a glass bowl or two with a figure-shaped cloud of frit. In early 2006, I began studying the figure in earnest. When I was finally creating drawings that I liked, I’d put a pane of glass on top of a drawing, and cover it with frit, like colored sand, pushing the frit into place slowly and painstakingly. But the glass figures were stiff - more action was needed to portray the energy of the model’s pose. By the summer of 2006, I was applying the glass paint with a palette knife during the figure drawing sessions, allowing me to keep up with the relatively short 5, 10 and 20 minute poses designed for drawing, not layered painting. Back in the studio, I “carve” the figure out of the dried paint. Many panels don’t survive this delicate stage, and if one stroke goes astray, all the paint is scraped off and the glass is returned to the stack of blanks. Even past that point, as the best pieces are fired to over 1000 degrees to fuse the glass paint permanently into the panels, I still have to produce numerous paintings to get one I like. In this way, my current work strives to capture the energy of the pose, while pausing for reflection long enough to portray the subtle grace of the figure, in a flexed foot, or a rounded calf. Some strokes are captured quickly, some are teased out slowly, like most balanced rewards of life. To create the diptychs, I combine panels until two figures “strike up a conversation” and become suddenly more alive. If the figures relate to each other in pose, scale, and level of detail, they create a “Fragile Harmony.” This relationship seems tender to me not only because of the fragility of the medium but also the constant possibility that either figure can be removed from the “relationship” and be replaced by another.