6/1/13 3:01 PM
Foraging in nature—for fossils, mushrooms, lamb’s quarters—is very much a chance procedure, but it depends on the seeker having both the knowledge to recognize what he or she encounters, and an openness to finding the unexpected. A parallel process seems to be at work in Laura Wolfe’s recent works of gilded glass, peculiar mirrored surfaces from within which shimmer golden traces of shells and fish. Wolfe is a trained decorative artist and precise practitioner of the 18th-century French technique known as “verre églomisé,” but in these pieces she experimentally undermines her own professional knowledge to allow for unanticipated shapes to appear in the layers of silver, gold and beeswax that she applies to the back side of squares and rounds of glass. How fortuitous then that the forms so serendipitously arrived at turn out to be organic, as if they’d swum or crawled into place, or been there for thousands of years, just waiting to be discovered by the right artist.