Madeline Rile Smith

Anthropods, flame-worked borosilicate glass & paint, 2012Anthropods, flame-worked borosilicate glass & paint, 2012Anthropods, flame-worked borosilicate glass & paint, 2012Petrified Glass (installation), slumped glass & steel wool, 2012
Petrified Glass (installation), slumped glass & steel wool, 2012Petrified Glass (installation), slumped glass & steel wool, 2012Petrified Glass (installation), slumped glass & steel wool, 2012Shelter, wire and melted bubble wrap, 2012

Madeline Rile Smith began her glass studies with Josh Cole at the Crefeld School Glass Studio. She has studied with Brent Young at the Cleveland Institute of Art, with Eun-Suh Choi at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Emilio Santini at the Corning Museum of Glass, at and at Philadelphia’s East Falls Glassworks. Currently she is a BFA student in glass at the Tyler School of Art, where she has worked withBohyun Yoon, Jessica Jane Julius, and Daniel Cutrone. She is the 2012 recipient of the Steve Stormer Memorial Award. She is also the recipient of the 2011 McDaniel Award and the 2010 Robert Jergens Scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She serves as the treasure of the Tyler Glass Guild.

In addition to sculpture work and installations, Madeline flameworks borosilicate pendants and other glass art objects in her studio in Philadelphia. She teaches flameworking privately and in workshops through the Crefeld School.

Born in Philadelphia in 1989, Madeline has been involved in the arts from an early age, as a musician and visual artist. She has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and was featured on NPR’s From The Top’sradio and TV shows with her string quartet Seraphina. Madeline plays the classical viola, violin, and trumpet, as well as acoustic guitar and djembe. Her self-described passions are music and molten glass.

“Music has probably been the biggest influence in my life. I started violin when I was two and have been playing since. When I decided to go to art school, I did not want stop playing and lose the musician inside me, so I began planning my own way to incorporate the two. I want to bring my love of music into my passion for glassblowing and creating and expand on all three aspect in my life.”

I work primarily with blown flameworked glass, creating delicate hollow forms that reference organic life, such as cellular structures, seedpods, neurons, or skeletons. My process involves heating glass to 2000 degrees and manipulating it with gravity and a series of careful yet aggressive motions. I alter the surface of the glass with repeated steps of simple manipulations, until it is transformed.
My aim is to create visual metaphor by evoking a sense of gesture and body language in an inanimate object. I deconstruct organic forms in order to give them a new sense of life. I want to test the capacity for the material to evoke emotion in the viewer through its form and gesture.

Networks and connections dominate the thinking in my work. Interacting multiples serve as a metaphor for community and shared experience. One form by itself is static, but in the presence of others the focus is shifted to interaction between objects. The interplay becomes more important than the objects themselves. This draws upon the importance of context to give meaning. I am interested in the relationship between the individual and the whole, and the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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