David Wheeler: Transforming the Detritus into the Meritorious
Artist Statement: I’ve been creating objet d’art from reclaimed glass objects for nearly a decade. As an advocate of “green” production, I forage for materials that can be recycled, reused, repurposed, reduced, reformed – seeking out textures, colors, and shapes. Seeing the many utilitarian/decorative uses and feeling the history/shared experience of glass in our daily lives, I opt to continue our connection to this material by collecting and connecting shapes, shards and splinters – transforming them into significant works of art.
Green Biography: With a colorful history of proficiency in a number of mediums, glass sculpture artist David Wheeler now focuses on using existing materials as opposed to freshly manufactured ones. In this, he is among a growing number of artists who are currently identified as “green” – those who produce works of art from salvaged discarded materials – scrap metal, books, fabric, junk store second-hand bits and pieces – and in Wheeler’s case, glass: bottles, jars, pitchers, lamp shades, vases, dishes, accessories, light bulbs, marbles, Cinderella slippers and the like.
Wheeler finds value in organic materials that convey meaning by having had previous interaction within our lives and our environment. He understands the value of mindful-consumption and sustainability. He sees the value in incorporating the remains of his own works into new works – transforming the detritus into the meritorious.
Make no mistake – glass chemistry is a complex science involving ratios of the strata of the sand source, the “alkalies” and the addition of colorizing compounds. Formulas contain a glassmaker’s secrets gleaned through extensive experimentation – and it has been reported that in times past broken glass from mis-blown or returned bottles was often added back to a new batch. GLASS: valuable enough to re-cycle then – holding its value and distinctive quality in re-cycling today.
It takes a considerable amount of time, talent and traditional skills to create significant works of art that are created in the juxtaposition of broken, crumbled, washed, melted, melded, molded, cast, fired, shaped, fused (not necessarily all or in that order) glass sculptures. Artist David Wheeler does all this and more surrounded by his medium and 13 kilns at his Desert Studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.