Joanna Manousis, Parr Diamonds, USA, 2018
The central motif of Parr Diamonds, evident in the negative spaces of each glass component, is taken from a carved marble façade in the interior of St Mary’s Chapel at Sudeley Castle, England. The architectural embellishment is a small component of the alter area, the chapel being famous for the tomb of Catherine Parr, the 6th and last wife of King Henry VIII. Manousis has replicated the intimate detailing in the chapel’s wall motif, breaking up the design into individual units that look to dilute and fragment as they expand outwards. Faceted and curved glass forms act as lenses to the silhouettes of foliage clusters, rosettes and strands of pearls. Reverse painted to allude to the original carved marble façade, these internal surfaces echo the decay and deterioration that the chapels tomb conceals. Their seeming solidity dissipates around the periphery of installation until only the ghostly, luminescent voids within the glass remain.
Parr Diamonds is cast in glass and crystal using ‘core-casting’ techniques. Refractory, heat resistant ‘cores’ create the negative spaces within each glass formations. Manousis first sculpts the foliage tiles, rosettes, and pearls in clay to produce a set of rubber ‘mother’ molds. Refractory duplicates of the clay formations are made utilizing the mother molds, which are in turn fired in a kiln. Glass melts into the mold but cannot penetrate where the detailed ‘core’ is positioned. This then reveals a negative space when the refractory is extracted from the glass upon cooling. All components are hand polished to a peak shine by hand. The central components within the installation are reverse painted with oils to replicate carved stone. Finally, stainless steel plates and claw settings are cut and forged to allow the glass components to be mounted to a wall.
Manousis has earned numerous international awards and nominations for her work, including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Nomination in 2017, The Margaret M. Mead Award through the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center in 2011, the Hans Godo Frabel Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Glass’ in 2010, and a Bombay Sapphire Award nomination for ‘Excellence in Glass’ in 2008. Manousis has created her work within major public museums and studio residency programs, including The Toledo Museum of Art, OH, The Museum of Art and Design, NY, The Corning Museum of Glass, NY, and Cité Internationale des Arts, France. Her work has been exhibited internationally at institutions and art fairs including The Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark, The British Glass Biennale, UK, Salon Art + Design, NY and FOG Art + Design, San Franscisco. Holding a Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Alfred University, New York, and a First Class Honors Bachelor Degree in Fine Art from The University of Wolverhampton, England, Manousis has worked, studied and taught in Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
Medium: cast crystal, glass, stainless steel, oil paint
Dimensions: 62” H x 37” W x 4” D, 157.48 H x 93.98 W x 10.16 D cm
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