Pursue Truth

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Client: Bellevue Art Museum

Location: Bellevue, WA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $20,000

Project Team

Client

Lucile Chich

Bellevue Art Museum

Artist

Mark Ditzler

Mark Ditzler Glass Studio, LLC

Other

Wayne Strattman

Strattman Design

Overview

50″T x 50″W x 6″D. Materials: Kiln-formed glass, plasma neon, colored phosphors, electronics, wood cabinet. Designed for the Bellevue Art Museum Biennial “Glasstastic!” invitational. This interactive glass sculpture encourages viewer participation.

Goals

This project was a proof-of-concept for a large-scale plasma neon installation. Designed as a commentary on our current problem with "Alternate Truth", I wanted to create an attractive and interactive "voting machine". Sandblast engraving was used to place ambiguous, but carefully chosen words onto the surface of the glass. When the viewer approaches and interacts with the sculpture it is designed to stimulate their thought process. As the surface of the glass is touched by the viewer, light flows into that area, producing bright colors and reinforcing perception of the words. Pursue Truth was the only glass sculpture in the exhibit that encouraged people to touch, and after 4 months and perhaps thousands of interactions there was no perceptible wear.

Process

The stated purpose of the BAM Glasstastic! invitational was to encourage new or innovative work from glass artists in the Seattle area. While I had past experience with neon tubing, plasma neon is for me a new and dramatic way to create contemporary glass sculpture. After 2 years of research, beginning with a class at Pilchuck School of Glass and then an artist residency at the Corning Museum of Glass, I was excited to submit a design proposal for plasma neon panels. I provided the museum with scale drawings and photos of my work from Pilchuck and Corning. The curator came for a studio visit, interacted with the plasma sculptures and discussed the potential for an attractive display. Installation of the completed work was done by the museum with my assistance.

Additional Information

These plasma-neon glass panels are lively and colorful, with light moving freely inside the glass. Appropriate for a museum, university, or any public space that would benefit from an attractive focal point. They are ideal for display in a science or engineering environment, exhibiting priciples of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math).