ABOUT THE WORK
The work of Maria Bang Espersen is a reminder for the malleability of the world around us, a reminder that the way things are is just one possible manifestation and that we have the power, the obligation to question the status quo. All things are malleable and nothing can be permanently defined as right or wrong. Starting from the assumed-to-be-impossible, she challenges the conventional rules of how to approach a material and visualizes the norm as a passed on tradition. At the heart of this open-ended approach lies a deep affinity to the investigative and experimental to uncover yet unknown potential, as possibilities are just former impossibilities, verified through trial and error. Maria Bang Espersen’s experimental works in glass therefore is not only a matter of technique, but also a statement that one never is to get caught up in restrictive norms or to obey established hierarchies. To rather be liberated from other’s restrictions and to transform them into positive expressions. Her work is a play with the possibilities within the material and the result often goes against classic rules of what is allowed in glass.
The process itself can be described as an ongoing conversation between the material and the artist, who tries to listen and observe, in order to learn something new about the material. The work from the Soft Series perfectly encapsulates the hidden wonders within the material glass as it shows us glass’s ability to simultaneously be clear and opaque, to appear soft while being hard. Thus, it is a poetic manifestation of all the different material properties that glass can carry in one artistic expression.
The soft and silky appearance of the Soft Series pieces, has developed over the years as a result of dedicated teamwork and the development of unconventional tools, such as custom-made blowpipes, metal tubes and large garden sheers. The final form of the pieces is defined in a spontaneous process. In the last seconds of the glass' fluidity Maria Bang Espersen shapes the hot glass by hand, using simple Kevlar gloves, forever capturing the intangible softness of heat in the increasing rigidity of the cooling off material.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Maria Bang Espersen is a Danish visual artist working primarily within video, installation and sculpture. She holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, a BA (equivalent) from the Royal Danish Academy on Bornholm, DK and a three-year technical glass education from Kosta School of Glass, Sweden. Recently she completed at two-year residency with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; The Core Program.
Espersen’s diverse work has been shown throughout Europe and to some extent in the U.S. She has presented solo exhibitions at Gallery SiC in Poland, Fortælle Galleriet, Gallery Rasch and Officinet in Denmark as well as had duo exhibitions in Denmark and Norway. Her work has been in group exhibitions such as GLAMFA at CSULB (Los Angeles), Clothing Optional at Night Gallery (Los Angeles), The Texas Pearl Project Space (Berlin), Next to the Skin (Belgium), Sølv at Gold-Smidt Assembly (London) among others.
Espersen has participated in residencies at institutions including the Corning Museum of Glass, NY, Wheaton Arts, NJ, Playa Fellowship Program, OR, as well as S12 in Norway and the National Glass Center in Sunderland in the United Kingdom. Her artistic achievements have won her multiple international awards such as the Jury’s Special Award at the Coburg Prize 2014, Talent Award of the Jutta Cuny Franz Foundation 2015 and the Danish KP-Prize 2015. Her sculptures are part of private and public collections in England including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Germany, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden and the U.S.