SUSAN EDGERLEY - POETRY ENCASED IN GLASS

Review by Dorota Kozinska

In VIE DES ARTS no. 185

'SUSAN EDGERLEY - POETRY ENCASED IN GLASS'

What strikes us most with Susan Edgerley's works is their unbearable fragility.

Organic, alien, almost otherworldly, her art takes the medium of glass to an entirely new realm.   The use of the word 'art' is, indeed, conscious and deliberate, for there can be no doubt that Susan Edgerley is a brilliant and unique artist, and an ambassador for one of the most undervalued art forms.  Born in Toronto, Ontario, and living most of her life in Quebec, she belongs to a fascinating group of glass artists and teachers who are pushing the boundaries of the medium.  In the process they are putting Quebec in the forefront of the international glass movement.  What inspires and sustains Susan Edgerley is nature.  Having said that, think 'nature' and a world of metaphysics opens up, and that is where her works take the unsuspecting viewer.  Moved by the fragility and resilience of plants, she has transformed her pieces into poetic representations of the spirit that imbues them.

Through her undulating Berceuses series, to the esoteric Fleeting Glimpses, she has magically transported glass to a new dimension, combining it with everything from copper and forged steel, to paper and wood.  In the Seed Sowers series, Edgerley creates a mesmerizing world of eerily alive flora inspired by her garden and its life cycle.  In it, she has produced, or rather tended and brought to life, textured pods that sprout delicate copper leaves, tendrils and filaments.  But Susan Edgerley surpasses herself in the following series titled Semence...Seeds, with a collection of pieces that are pure Zen poetry.  A suspended translucent, gossamer chain make of fluid glass links, evokes both the spine and an umbilical cord.  On a mirrored tile on the floor nests a group of pale opaque shells with textured, carved surfaces.  They split, emanating an invisible, seductive energy that compels the viewer to kneel beside them for a closer look.

A great deal of physical effort goes into the creation of Susan Edgerley's enigmatic works of art.  The process of casting demands both time and patience, not to mention strength.  For Susan Edgerley it is also a humbling experience.  Her reverence for the medium, and an almost spiritual approach to her work can be seen in each piece. "What better material with which to express the diversity and complexity of human existence, its power, its beauty and its pain.  Glass is the fragile metaphor with which I can ponder, struggle with and create those things which live inside me."  One of Susan Edgerley's latest works - a diaphanous wall installation titled Vau, is a visual haiku of breathtaking simplicity.  Glass [branches] spiral into

infinity, and the spectral echo of the last bead carries the eye into an invisible realm, captivating the viewer for a long time.  Tenderly, lovingly made, each of Susan Edgerley's creations encapsulates a metaphor that is a prayer to life, a eulogy to a dying world of nature, and a paean to its inevitable rebirth.  Applied to human life, these are powerful, three-dimensional mandalas.