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 Kari Russell-Pool  (1967 - )

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Massachusetts      Known for: contemporary blown glass sculpture, everyday objects, nature

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
By the Light of the Moon, 1998
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Artist Statement:
My husband, Marc Petrovic, and I have been working as studio artists since our respective graduations from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1990, and 1991.

Marc makes pieces that are predominantly glass, but also contain wood and metal components. I am primarily a flame worker. I create form from pattern with a technique I developed on my own. Although Marc and I strive to retain our individual work and approach, we have collaborated to a greater or lesser extent since college. We each offer insight and suggestions on the other's work. Our collaborations most often incorporate Marc's blown birds into my structures, but after years of bouncing things off each other, we each live in the other's work.

Somewhat unique to flame working, I melt and pull all my own glass rods from the same glass furnace that Marc sculpts his components.  This allows a compatibility between the blown glass birds and the flame worked structures. This soft glass is seldom used by flame workers on a larger scale because of it's inherent difficulties.  This glass does not take the stress of torch work well, as would a borosilicate glass, but does allow a greater range of color variations, and the unique ability to be fused with furnace blown components.

My overall approach is one of a watercolor.  Coloring with glass powders, and pulling my own glass rods, allows us an extraordinary control over color.  By layering the color and manipulating the density, our hope is the flow between the blown and flame-worked glass appears effortless.  In glass there is often a 'right' way to do things.  I am more a proponent of the cowboy way.  The cowboy way invites invention, and serves the master of the final result, rather than proper technique.  I am proud to be called a craftsman, because craftsmanship underlies all I do, even if I am occasionally caught being an artist.

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
"Florence Griswold Museum" by Susan Dunne for Hartford Courant newspaper, December 10, 2014

The work by Russell-Pool ? made from slender strands of glass ? also is autobiographical, and comments on modern society. Her "Safety Mom Series" was inspired by post-Sept. 11 ideas of keeping a family safe. "A family member bought a handgun. She's examining what has a person bringing a gun into a home and how it invades the domestic space," said Ben Colman, who curated Russell-Pool's exhibit.

That series, in incongruously cheerful colors, is dominated by images of guns and keys, and the delicate glasswork is patterned to look like traditional sampler which kept women's hands busy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Russell-Pool's "trophy series," a strikingly delicate and extremely fragile set of "trophies," was inspired by an NPR interview with a trophy maker, who stated that frequently people commission trophies to be made for themselves. "She was suffering from self-doubt," Colman said. "These are personal monuments and personal celebrations."

The most dazzling of Russell-Pool's pieces are several "banded vessels" ? vases cut in half horizontally and filled with a remarkable array of birds and flowers ? and her series of birds in cages. "This is really about the metaphor of the birdcage," Colman said. "On the one side, it's a domestic house. On the other side, it's a beautiful prison."

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