John Kiley

John Kiley 33 minutes 18 seconds

John Kiley: 33'18"



Statement: When I was a Child, our house underwent a remodel. The yard was messy, full of piles of soil and mud; in short, a boy’s paradise. A favorite pastime of the neighborhood kids was engaging in dirt-clot throwing wars on our backyard battleground.

One day, while preparing for a battle, I picked up a pile of ammunition and began to fashion it into what would be the perfect muddy weapon. Slowly and deliberately I shaped it with my bare hands until the amorphous clot of mud began to take the form of a ball. I became obsessed, shaping for probably an hour, and eventually created a perfect sphere.

To me, this tennis ball sized object seemed much too perfect to sacrifice in battle, so I placed it in a small glass dish, and hid it inside the tool shed. There it lived, until one Spring day when I decided that I would impress my fellow combatants. Upon revealing the sphere, not a single one of my comrades believed that it was merely dirt. They were all sure that it must be a ball coated with mud. I pondered the options: return my treasure to the shed, or break it open and impress my friends?

Looking at the broken pile of earth, splayed out on the sidewalk, I felt a sense of pride that I had created something so perfect, and a sense of loss that I ruined it. Gazing upon what was left, clearly a broken sphere, rounded edges still intact, with the rough inside sections casting shadows, questions arose: Which is more beautiful; intact or sectioned, outside or inside, shapes or shadows? Why was I so drawn to this form and now its broken remnants?

The glass sculptures that I make are related to this experience. They are an exploration of external and internal form; a study of shadow, reflection and light, and a metaphor for relationships. I strive to create objects that push the material beyond its simple inherent beauty. When I look at a finished piece, it should be apparent to me that it should only exist in glass.

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