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Josiah McElheny in "Memory"

“All of my work is essentially derived from some previous source,” says Josiah McElheny. “A lot of times what I’m doing is re-imaging something or transforming it slightly, but it’s always very much in connection to its source.”

In his exhibition Total Reflective Abstraction, he uses a silvered glass technique to build on the theories of Isamu Noguchi and Buckminster Fuller proposing a completely reflective “utopia.” McElheny’s mirrored objects relate to one another in an infinite matrix of reflections.

“The definition of being a modern person is to examine yourself, to reflect on yourself and to be a self-knowledgeable person,” he explains, as he himself reflects on the meaning of his work.

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Josiah McElheny

Josiah McElheny creates finely crafted, handmade glass objects that he combines with photographs, text, and museological displays to evoke notions of meaning and memory. Whether recreating miraculous glass objects pictured in Renaissance paintings or modernized versions of non-extant glassware from documentary photographs, McElheny’s work takes as its subject the object, idea, and social nexus of glass. Influenced by the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, McElheny’s work often takes the form of “historical fiction”—which he offers to the viewer to believe or not. Part of McElheny’s fascination with storytelling is that glassmaking is part of an oral tradition, handed down generation to generation, artisan to artisan.

“All of my work is essentially derived from some previous source. A lot of times what I’m doing is re-imaging something or transforming it slightly, but it’s always very much in connection to its source.”

Josiah McElheny

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Josiah McElheny discusses how he began working with glass, and his work’s relation to memory and history.