Doug Moreland

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About the Artist:

Profile Image of Doug Moreland

The first time I saw a demonstration of glassblowing, I was hooked, and began blowing glass as a hobby. After retirement I took some  glass classes out at Sherman and found that glass art was just an entry into the larger, incredible world of art. I signed up for the BFA (including minors in Art History and Italian) and have never looked back. This coming year I hope to continue my new career with internships and residences.

 


 

Shield

Blown Glass and Welded Steel, 2020, 18" x 18" x 6"

glass and metal sculpture by Doug Moreland

 

Muqarnas

Carved Wood and Cast Glass, 2020, 24" x 12" x 6"

glass and wood sculpture by Doug Moreland

 

Best Friends

Blown Glass, 2020, 9.5" x 18" x 4.5"

glass sculpture by Doug Moreland

 

Perfume Bottles

Blown Glass, 2020, 4" x 6" x 3"

glass sculptures by Doug Moreland

 

The prescient theme of last year’s Venice Biennale has certainly come true, 2020 is an interesting, odd, weird time in history that is shared by everyone on earth. When is the last time that everyone on earth did something together?

My original artist’s statement from two years ago went something like this: “I am fascinated by the contrasts in color, size, shape, and texture which can evoke feelings about people and objects in the world around us. Representing the environment and modern culture within the physical constraints of manipulating glass …” blah-blah-blah.  

All that’s true, but who cares? Is it important in a world where the wealthy around the world have taken more and more wealth and used it to create more authoritarian control, their only goal the extension of their entrenched power? Exposing the reality of power structures is the key goal of my art. My original project was The Shield and Muqarnas, both of which are on hold due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Shield

“They are forging one tremendous shield, one against all the Latin spears – welding seven plates, circular rim to rim…. Groaning under the anvil’s weight, the Cyclops raising their arms to the drumming, pounding beat as the twist the molten mass in gripping tongs…. And here in the heart of the shield … you could see it all, the world drawn up for war.”

- The Aeneid (8:527, 532, 790)

The Shield is based on the Roman epic The Aeneid, the story of Rome’s founder Aeneas, and how he brought order out of chaos. The Shield of Aeneas, commissioned by his mother, the goddess Venus, was forged from seven standard shields, and. represents the hero’s change in identity from aristocratic Trojan noble to peaceable family-centered Roman. The photo represents the one component of the shield that is complete, while six additional components are on hold.  The Shield  represents our choice of identity Today and the future we chose through our actions: Star Trek or Soylent Green.

Muqarnas are the design components used in Islamic architecture. From several simple repeated components, increasingly complex forms are created, including archways, basilicas, and domes. In Islamic architecture, muqarnas are made from plaster or wood, the components carved to fit. While the overall designs are strictly geometric, the pieces “don’t quite fit.”  Some of the components have to be adjusted for size or angles to complete a pattern but it is done so subtly that it is difficult to see where it happens.  These adjustments make it extremely difficult to re-create the three-dimensional design in something like glass, that must be blown or cast rather than carved.  The initial castings were done, but the final arrangement of components was not completed.

Best Friends are three imperfect forms I kept because they intrigued me. Perfect venetian style glassware is easy to come by, Walmart sells perfect machine-made vases and goblets — cheap. The pieces I made that were (almost) perfect were sold, or tossed, or given away because they looked similar to every other Venetian piece. But Best Friends is almost perfect, like the people I care about. The only “perfect” people are those who create a machine-like veneer, and they aren’t that interesting. Every interesting person has a flaw, but like beautiful glassware, we see it as beauty rather than error.

Perfume Bottles is just that, a couple of small bottles for storing perfume. I tried several approaches to making small, fancy bottles – these are the two I liked the most. It’s a reminder that despite all the difficulties we face, the final goal is to find our innate happiness.  Though often seen as trivial and silly, so what as long as we are happy.