Michael Allison

Glass

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I have a photograph of me when I was three holding a big rock with a look of complete awe on my face. Not only do I first recall this feeling of amazement and connection to nature at that early age, but also my love for art began that same year.  Once I discovered art, I had an insatiable hunger to create more. My grandmother continued fostering the artist instinct in me, and physically connected me to what would later become one of my main subjects…water. She taught me to swim when I was 5 years-old, and my reward for learning to swim was that she would buy me paint by number set. Water is the essence of life, and glass has similar properties to water in the sense that glass is liquid and always moving. In my work, glass represents water in a present state…moving so slow that the drops are suspended in a moment. This creates a pure and simple representation of/and meditation on the present. At first glance, water is the most obvious element that occurs in my work, and I imagine the earliest connections trace back to that childhood memory of learning to swim and being rewarded with art, but I began professionally working with my current theme of water drops and metal faucets and gages in 1998.

I had only been blowing glass for about a year when I visited the artist Time Poe at an old abandoned steel mill in Birmingham, Alabama. When WWII started, the mill was shut down so abruptly that the worker’s gloves were left on the floor, and the condiments were left in the refrigerator. Nature had been reclaiming the ghost mill for over fifty years. The mill had a profound impact on the direction of my art, and I began working under the blanket title, “the power of nature, the mind of man.”

I have kept these concepts simple and consistent for the past seventeen years. My work is always heavily influenced and transformed by nature, but my pieces often complicate that theme by addressing the juxtaposition between man and nature. I am interested in seeing what happens when I take the raw beauty of the natural, fragile world and set that right on top of or next to or between industrial instruments crafted by man.

The water and metal elements of my work are very grounding, and the birds and crystals I incorporate into the composition are airy, connecting the earth and sky. I’m interested in this energetic exchange and connection, as well as the role art can play as a healing tool, not only for the artist in the moment of creation, but also for the audience while viewing each piece.