Charlyn Reynolds is a sculptor and installation artist who received her BFA in 2011 at Illinois State University in glass, under the instruction of John Miller. After graduating from ISU, she was hired by the Toledo Museum of Art as a studio technician and pate de verre instructor. Concurrently, she worked for the Corning Museum of Glass performing live glass blowing demonstrations on Celebrity Cruise Lines while educating the public about glass as an artistic medium. In between working, she has developed her skills further by taking intensive classes at many craft schools from world renowned artists such as Kimiake and Shin-ichi Higuchi as well as Martin Janecky. She was able to expand her glass sculpting skills during the two-month class with Janecky and later worked for him at his studio in Fairbanks, Alaska. Presently, Charlyn is a third year MFA candidate at the University of Texas Arlington.
The work that Charlyn creates stems from the absurdity of her childhood. Charlyn grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, however, behind her house was a fantastical grotto that housed an assortment of exotic pets and within the house, her bedroom, covered from floor to ceiling in Tweety Birds. Charlyn woke up to an adventure everyday beginning with an overstimulating sea of yellow and hundreds of blue eyes staring back at her.
This room has always felt unique and comforting to Charlyn, as she has collected these plush characters since she was a child. However, to those outside of her family, this bedroom is over whelming and unnerving. This is the experience that she wants her viewers to feel as they view her art installations.
Charlyn creates colorful fantastical creatures out of glass. These creatures are her own mythological hybrids that she has created by seamlessly blending one animal into another to create a unique beast that has never been seen before. Some of the creatures are combinations of a gorilla and a spider, a cheetah and a falcon, an elephant and a manta ray, amongst many more. She uses glass, which is a molten material that stretches and moves like that of an animal’s skin, to bring these creatures to life while hot. Animals can be dangerous, they can sting and bite; one might not want to get too close to a giant spider, just like you cannot get too close to molten glass. Once the material cools, she literally freezes the creature, allowing the viewer a unique experience to come up close and see the details of her unique beasts.
These animals live in a toxic environment caked in shiny amber and gold. Every surface of their world is glimmering in a synthetic way. The floor is coated in precious faux-amber jewels and the walls, foliage, and rocks are coated in gold paint to become nauseatingly gaudy. This world turns away from a luxurious experience into one that us camp. Charlyn desires her viewers to find pleasure in her ridiculous creatures, while simultaneously be repulsed by their environment.