Shop talk, answers to your FAQs, and a peek behind the scenes of an artist-run fine art gallery in Park Slope
In our final installment of interviews from the juried theme show Light, Gallery Director Amy Williams sat down with Valeria Divinorum to discuss her sculpture Sierpinski Triangle, and how she explores the intangible properties of light.
AW: Tell us a bit about Sierpinski Triangle and how you interpreted the exhibition theme “light.”
VD: The sculpture is a stained-glass fractal piece named Sierpinski. Sierpinski is the name of a type of fractal where the overall shape is an equilateral triangle, subdivided 3 times into smaller triangles, with an empty triangle left in the middle. The reason I selected this piece is because of the way it interacts with light. Each piece of glass has beveled edges that creates a dispersion of light into spectral components. The magic of this piece is evident when the rays of sun are projected directly through it.
AW: Is this work part of a series? How does it fit in with the rest of your work?
VD: This piece is not part of a series although this fractal appears in many other of my pieces. Sierpinski Triangle has a flat front face but becomes three-dimensional on the back side of the sculpture. In some of my other works the entire fractal becomes a 3D pyramidal composition.
AW: What was your initial thought when you saw the theme Light? Was it challenging?
VD: I was excited about the theme because I consider myself an artist working with light. I work with glass and crystals to use as a lens to explore the intangible proprieties of light. I have deep interest in exploring the optical perception of space. Light reacts with my pieces to form immersive colored reflections in space, and in turn, uniquely transforms every viewer’s experience.
AW: Why have you chosen the medium you work in? How does your process convey your concerns?
VD: The art of glass runs in my family; my mother is a Grisaille artist, she paints over glass and uses heat to fuse the layers of color into the panel. In architecture school I developed an interest in creating theatrical sets for large, spectacular events. There, I did a lot of wood craft, drawing and painting but did not begin experimenting with metals or glass until after I left school. Once I finished my architectural studies, I went to a glass school in Buenos Aires where I learned the techniques that Louis Comfort Tiffany extolled. My mentor was Andres Jacob and he taught me how to weld glass and metal geometric structures.
AW: What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own? How has your work evolved over the years?
VD: My work has evolved over the last three years as a result of moving to NYC. Here, access to materials and opportunities that are essential to this genre are easy to find. My work can be seen as complex, yet since geometry is a language we all speak, it is accessible—geometry appears in nature and is everywhere. In my studio, while I play around with different types of glass, I investigate textures and light effects, and the process becomes very natural. It’s basically like decoding information that we all have in our own biological structure and memory. What makes this special to me is how people can relate to my glass work as objects that are part of a symbolic language that we all relate to.
AW: In your statement, you write that you “investigate the psychedelic and mysterious elements of our natural world through the lens of magic realism.” Could you expand on this statement? What is magic realism and how does it interpret the psychedelic and natural world?
VD: Magic Realism expresses a concrete view of the world while revealing magical elements. It’s defined by highlighting the beauty of the basic coincidences of something common. Each one of my sculptural works is inspired by the golden ratio and the mathematical proportions that appear in nature discovered by Plato, Archimedes, Fibonacci and Sierpinski among others. The purpose of the work is not to arouse emotions but rather to express them. Above all it is an attitude towards reality, it is the content of magical and fantasy elements, perceived as part of normality.
AW: What has most shaped the work you do?
VD: I’ve been constantly inspired by the concept of the golden ratio. It is my first reference to explore new shapes within the glass media. My passion and fascination with glass derives from its similarities to water: light and color can travel through both substances, and both are also able to reflect it. My motivation is to generate an atmosphere where the viewer can find themselves in a space that expands their senses. I want to create a space that is both familiar and unknown, one that is discovered through memories.
AW: Do you have any projects coming up? Tell us about them!
VD: I am currently working on a set of cubes—tesseracts—and the expression of the fourth dimension by the use of color-tilted mirrors as the base of these structures. I am planning an exhibition that will include these cubes and directional spotlights to recreate the effects of the rays of the sun.