October 18, 2010 - February 1, 2011
Philadelphia artist Sharyn O'Mara has created a series of large-scale glass spider webs in memory of the famous contemporary artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). Described as a "Grande Dame of American and European art," Bourgeois is best known for her series of monumental metal spiders - the largest stands more than 30 feet tall. Although primarily a sculptor, Bourgeois also liked to draw. It was another medium to express her fascination with spiders and, in particular, their webs. Bourgeois had said that drawing was similar to a spider's web: "it's like the thread.it is a knitting, a spiral."
Like Bourgeois' gigantic spiders, O'Mara has fabricated similarly sized glass webs influenced by the late artist's web drawings. O'Mara has titled her installation The Repairer - this, too, was inspired by Bourgeois whose parents restored tapestries. Bourgeois once said, "The spider is a repairer. I came from a family of repairers. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn't get mad. She weaves and repairs it."
Similarly, O'Mara's process is also akin to weaving, sewing and drawing albeit with glass rods. Heated by a small torch - a technique known as flameworking - O'Mara melts a portion of the rod. At this point, the viscous rod can be fused to another rod or pulled and shaped to slowly build each web. She has described them as "an arachnid's quiet tribute to a brilliant sculptor."