Tell us about yourself!
My name is Jane Cook, and I live in Southport, NY, about 20 minutes from the Corning Museum of Glass, where I have the great pleasure to be CMoG’s Chief Scientist for the last 3 years. I pulled my first boro points in a Bunsen burner in my bedroom in Los Angeles when I was about 10, to make a pipette for my chemistry set. I earned my Ph.D. in materials engineering and geology from UW-Madison with a dissertation on the float glass process. Then I worked for Corning Research and Development for over 16 years, where I helped invent the parts of the machine that makes the glass in your TV, monitor, and cell phone. I’ve taken several glassblowing and kiln working classes, but my primary art practice since childhood is painting, with acrylics and digitally, and photography.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
Glass is endlessly fascinating to me whether exploring the chemistry of a few atoms under a microscope, or making septillions of atoms into a sculpture. I love that glass is what it is because its fundamental nature is to be self-confounding, disordered, and imprecise, and yet it can make works of such exquisite perfection. I am drawn to others' works and processes that make use of sublime, simple optics through multiple layers and deep forms, and pieces and performative making that are broadly and roughly gestural in contrast to glass’ desire to be smooth and staid.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
My paintings over the last 10 years are about the roots of the emergence of ideas from chaotic and incipient forms, and the expression of my emotional state through participation in the elution and refinement happening on the canvas or monitor. An alchemical, improvisational, dynamic conversation develops between line, color, and texture, and my soul. I view the finished object as a relic of the time-based artmaking, and hope those relics compel thought on why and how it came to be, to make the viewers wonder what they missed.
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
My fascination with layers, interplay, and emergence has long given me interest in the roots of languages in culture, physiology, and environment. I think I would be a linguist or anthropologist. Or a stand-up comedian.
Why are you a member of GAS?
Coming late into the glass art world, GAS has been an invaluable, comforting blanket of to me. It’s helped me to understand the value that I can bring to the fascinating, brilliant, and diverse people with whom glass chooses to dance, and to grow my network of colleagues and friends. I look forward to many opportunities through GAS to serve, teach, inspire, and to be awed.
See more of Jane's work here