Tell us about yourself!
My name is Mary Ayling and I am an artist currently living and working in San Jose, California. My relation to glass has been an intimate collaboration, one that began when I was seven years old with my first pair of eyeglasses. It wasn’t until I was around 17, when I took my first classes with Leonard Marty at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio, that I began working with glass in the studio.
What draws you to the material you work with?
This idea of having a lifelong partnership with a material that it is both metaphorically and literally vital to my perception and understanding of an environment has been the cornerstone of my artistic development. And it is the basis of how I choose my materials and site for a project.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
My work strives to offer an alternative set of tools for dealing with common relational issues such as forgiveness, empathy, loss, and communication. How often do we misunderstand collaboration; be it in romantic, familial, or otherwise mundane interactions with people and objects in our environment. Through a variety of media, my final works live as sculptural performances whose documentation takes on the form of photographs, installations, and printed matter.
What is your dream project?
I have always altered spaces to be sites for parts of my projects. As an example, in one of my last works Breathing Room, I emptied out my entire apartment, altered all the walls with paint, diffused the lighting in the windows, took out all the electricity except for one specific light, and cut a hole in the floor of my apartment for a sculptural interaction piece that participants engaged with one at a time. I would love to buy a building or home that I could use continually as an ongoing life project that evolves each year with me.
Why are you a member of GAS?
I am a member of GAS because it is an amazing and welcoming community with so many resources and opportunities for its members. I love the energy and creativity of everyone involved and have seen firsthand, having volunteered at the 2016 GAS conference in Corning, New York and been graced with the opportunity to work with President Cassandra Straubing here in San Jose, how much effort and planning go into everything that your organization does. It’s an exciting time to be an artist and a great opportunity for people to stretch their definitions of what it means to work with this material.
Visit Mary Ayling's GAS member profile here.