Matthew Day Perez’s newest installation asks the viewer to consider where glass comes from. Does it inexplicably spring to life? Grow from a river of molten material? How is it made? Exploiting craft and a general unknowingness, Grow employs traditional glass making techniques and mixed mediums to mediate the relationship between utilitarian glass objects utilized everyday, and the process employed to make them.
Grow consists of two components. In one corner of the installation a video projection depicts a molten landscape, a garden of glowing material. At various moments within the video loop, glass vessels and vases inexplicably grow, just as a flower blooms, or a blade of grass thrusts upward through a mound of dirt; pitchers, cups, mugs, and wine glasses mature and are plucked from a glowing plot of soil. Opposite the video, situated in the center of the room, a glowing chamber houses a crucible of molten glass. The electric kiln is outfitted with a clear quartz lid allowing the viewer to witness the elements flicker on and off supplying the energy necessary to maintain a liquid consistency. This unit is a green house, an incubator, a nursery of sorts from which the molten material is transformed into useful and pragmatic objects depicted within the video.
The coalescing of these two components propose a suspicious and slightly misleading scenario where glass is not manufactured in the most conventional sense but is generated or “grown.” It begs the viewer to slow down and ponder where things, products, and in this instance glass, comes from.