March 27 - September 28, 2015
Philadelphia artist Kate Clements has created a series of decorative, non-functional glass crowns. Many appear to be made of sugar with their crystallized, frost-like appearance. Their fragility is unmistakable and the delicacy of each renders them impossible to wear. The crowns are magical in their beauty and their materiality is alluring. But their inability to be worn creates a sense of mystery regarding their intended purpose.
Historically, crowns represent power, royalty, achievement, and pageantry. They are typically worn as symbols of distinction, hierarchy, and permanence. Although Clements’ crowns emulate the beauty of wearable crowns, her creations are not only too fragile to wear, they appear temporal with their sugary, icy translucency – qualities that purposefully undermine the primary attributes of such headwear. In this way, Clements reminds us that these objects of status, while beautiful, offer only temporary and often superficial transformations to those who wear them.
To achieve the icy effect and intricate detail, Clements uses a technique known as kiln-fired glass. The glass is initially in a powder form called frit. Using the glass powder, Clements draws with the frit to create her patterns. Depending on the thickness, the glass eithers pools together or stretches to create lace-like patterns.