Geoffrey Bowton is creating metaphorical glass relics, developed from within the memories of deployment and objects related to the longstanding war in the Middle East—experiences may be reclaimed through the story telling realism of Pate de Verre, understanding post-traumatic stress and the unknown. Is processing trauma connected visually with a gunshot wound, or a painful scar that reminds you of hardship or injury? Is it the red-hot barrel from gunfire, remembering the back-and-forth exchange … were you or those around you affected by an Improvised Explosive Device … can you recall the things you did … has life changed for you? “Sykes Regulars” … soldiers of the 5/20th Battalion, a group of resolute infantry personnel who deployed and fought throughout the longstanding wars in the Middle East. This work reflects the selfless service and sacrifice of those who answered the call to duty after 911, defending our liberties and freedoms for the United States.
Over the recent years, Pate de Verre and this work became a rally point in the art and veteran communities; used in social platforms discussing historical events, meanwhile, generating conversation about the significance of healing post military service. I view this work and the glass objects used as metaphorical vessels, transforming the experience of the individual in theater, and exposing the realities of combat. To reclaim oneself using art as a therapy.
I decided to arrange the soldiers gear as a Contemporary War Memorial, merging ideas from traditional military installation, with the realism of Pate de Verre casting. This work is constructed by hand building multiple layers of glass powders and small, tiny shards of which compose a thin hollowed object. Each surface has considerations made to portray wartime experiences of the 5/20th soldier.
I started working with glass during a 2016 summer studies program in Lybster, Scotland, at Northlands Creative Glass. What I discovered … a material capable of transforming within its environment, adapting, moving, shifting, bonding shards of themselves together … like the human spirit on the frontlines, amid a bloody gun fight. Glass was becoming a place where I could understand more about my feelings, while watching the material in transformation … I reconnected to parts of my life that needed healing, as if I were the glass and the heat was the medication I needed. Pate de Verre helps me survive through the processing of my memories and feelings, compiling stories of post traumatic events, mine, and others. This is a medium capable of lending its transforming qualities, deploying within the forms and the stories created—hollow vessels carefully arranged with layers of powders and small, tiny shards.
My earlier union career as a sheet metal worker and six-year stint with the US army infantry helped develop my artistic backbone, while simultaneously destroying the very life of it.
This redirected me into an altered state of employment … so, I decided to set up new creative working skills, attending an undergraduate art program, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts, using the post 911 G I Bill.After spending time at North Lands, I then established myself as a glass class student locally and abroad, taking part in over twenty-five studio classes, and or artist led class residencies. I work at my own glass/metal studio (approx. 2200 sq ft), found in Hillsboro, Oregon. Currently, I am working on the final pieces for an installation this upcoming November, Veterans Day month.
New works available for purchase: located https://www.bacart.org/ in Bainbridge, Washington. Opening reception, Friday, November 4th from 6-8pm. Please come join me in honoring those who served and sacrificed, upholding the liberty & freedoms we all depend on. Heroes’ living among us … people you may never have met, nor seen Veterans Day 2022.
Upcoming – during June 2023 (online) and during the month of National PTSD Awareness & the 2023 GAS conference in Detroit, I will be showing my work for the International competition … Not Grandma’s Glass https://www.habatat.com/ – a yearlong event. New works will be available for purchase.
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