Sharon Bladholm

Sharon BladholmSharon Bladholm has pursued her artistic vision through the steady acquisition and command of a variety of disciplines, including cast glass, bronze, and ceramic in the sculptural realm, as well as stained glass, printmaking and works on paper. The recurring theme in Bladholm’s work is the interface of people with the natural world, integrating the sciences of anthropology with biology and botany from the plant world. She has participated on expeditions with the Field Museum, Conservation International and Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program to the Brazilian, Venezuelan and Peruvian Amazon, documenting the life ways of the Yanomami people through her art, and exploring conservation of endangered plant and animal species in isolated communities.
She has run Opal Glass Studios since 1983 and continues to complete many important commissions and show her work in galleries and museums, as well as creating public art Sharon Bladholmsuch as installations at the Garfield Park Conservatory and Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France, as well as Suite Home Chicago, Amazon Rising for Shedd Aquarium, and a Cool Globe sponsored by the Chicago Botanical Garden. She recently completed sculptural works in glass and bronze for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. This year she is working on another public art piece for Openlands new Lakeshore Preserve based on amazing microscopic soil creatures! She also revisited the Peruvian Amazon in Nov 2009 and is creating new works of art for based on her involvement with the Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program.
My sculpture is a response to a long term investigation into the transient nature of the human figure and the natural world, especially botanical Sharon Bladholmforms. My starting point in the creative process begins with simple materials such as wax, plaster and clay and after a process of maturation is finally formed into glass, bronze and ceramic. I believe that the figure and organic form become an appropriate vehicle allowing me to address the larger concerns of the human condition. It is very important that my work reaches across social, economic, and cultural barriers reaching back to that time when art was not a separate function of life and spoke a more universal language.
My time spent in the living libraries of Latin American jungles, amidst various indigenous peoples has profoundly influenced my art. My participation on scientific expeditions has allowed access to remote and pristine ecosystems where people still live in direct interface with nature. Numerous onsite sketches of theSharon Bladholm botanical exuberance in rain forested areas becomes an internal deposit of plant anatomy, leaf, stamen, stem, seed, blossom and thorn, creating an inherent intelligence that informs and infuses my work. Through my artwork I intend to visually engage the viewer and communicate the importance of human relationships and interaction with the biological wealth that delights, surrounds and sustains us. I hope to integrate the sometimes separate disciplines of art, science, conservation and the natural world into a seamless visual experience that can affect a subtle shift in perception.

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