Windows on the World
Newly minted Professor Jocelyne Prince discusses the unique and transformative joys of working with glass.
La visite de la duchesse de Berry à Saint-Gobain en 1822 by Edouard Pingret. A royal crowd inspects glass being cast onto a table.
Longtime Glass department faculty member and alumna Jocelyne Prince MFA 94 GL celebrated her promotion to full professor on Tuesday, November 10, with a virtual presentation of her recent projects and the aspects of glassmaking that continue to keep her inspired. The talk was part of an ongoing lecture series that recognizes the range and depth of RISD’s faculty and the impact of their contributions on their respective fields. As Dean of Faculty Patricia Barbeito pointed out in introducing Prince, her focus is on the transformative power of the medium and how it helps to define our relationship with the world around us.
Prince sees glass as a delicate threshold dividing interior and exterior, visible and invisible. It is unique among materials, she notes, in its capability to distort and reconfigure our perception of the world around us.
Before the industrialization of plate glass manufacture, artisans made sheet glass by hand. Prince created these large sheets for Emanation, a 2015 exhibition at the Museum of American Glass in Millville, NJ that alluded to the state’s history of glassmaking.
29 Oriels, a collection of shadow boxes displaying Prince’s handmade glass, was included in Providence’s February 2020 observation-focused Intercalary Event and inspired by leap year.
Prince often references the notion of observation, demonstrating with this image how the focus of the eye can shift when peering through glass.
She frequently collaborates with musicians and other artists on conceptual performative pieces like Oluf Høst Sunrise ReVisited (2012), a live event presented in Bornholm, Denmark featuring “tuba player, one ladler, pond and automatic blinds.”
The piece paid homage to late Danish painter Oluf Høst, who lived on the island of Bornholm and made multiple paintings of sunrises and sunsets through the threshold of his barn door (see detail, above, of Late Evening, 1946). “He thought of the visual phenomena of day’s dawn and ending as a philosophical, though melancholic, reflection on life’s energy and potential,” Prince says.
She ended her presentation with a video clip from Glory Studies of Unexplained Events, another collaborative piece presented in 2015 at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, which featured live audio by pianist Ai Isshiki and a series of staged vignettes inspired by Frances Lee Glesner crime scene dioramas from the 1940s. “Instead of unexplained crime scenes, Glory Studies enlists a progression of objects and material transformations that narrate stories of romance and tension through heat, energy and destruction,” she explains.
The faculty lecture series continues on Wednesday, November 18, at noon with Industrial Design Professor Soojung Ham 92 ID. The RISD community is also invited to a series of talks with visiting artists sponsored by the Glass department. The next speaker in that series is Wassaic Project cofounder Eve Biddle.
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