Lisa Koch: Biochemist Turned Glass Artist | Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass
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Lisa Koch: Biochemist Turned Glass Artist

Lisa Koch: Biochemist Turned Glass Artist

Posted on Jan 24, 2019, by

Lisa Koch received a Biochemistry degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and began her career as a scientist researching cell division. Impelled by her passion for the arts, she discovered glass and later went on to earn her M.F.A. in glass from Alfred University. She has since taught neon and glass classes at Alfred University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and currently practices in Madison. She enjoys spending time in the summer working at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. Her background in the sciences continues to be a major influence in her work.

Einstein’s theories tell us that there is no absolute platform from which to view the universe: “the present is a parochial concept, valid for each observer, but with a different meaning for any observer in any other inertial frame.” 

Consider this fact: with each breath you take, at least one molecule of that breath was once a part of Cesar’s very last breath.  On this small blue planet, we are all much more interconnected than we often realize.

I use the ideas of perspective and rearrangement as a foundation in my recent work.  Data is rearranged, molecules recombine, memory fades and refocuses. 

I use glass as a medium to speak of these changes because glass is inextricably connected with light, and light is at the foundation of our visual perception of reality.   Glass has the ability to reflect, distort, obscure, exaggerate or duplicate, just like time.

Much of my work uses reflection: reflection of the viewer into the work, as well as reflection (duplication) within the work itself, often using the inherent properties of glass as a medium.

I use float glass in many of my pieces to reflect images behind or within it, negative space carved within it, and viewers who walk around it.  When viewed through the lens of glass, images and people shift and change, symbolic of how they change over time.

The cloud imagery in my work is symbolic of the travel of matter (in this case, water) around the earth, without knowing its history.  Imagine how water moves around the earth – how did that glass of water travel to be in front of you? 

One molecule may have rained down in India, flowed to the ocean, swirled around for decades, evaporated into a cloud, and rained down in California where it was purified and bottled.  

My work investigates these processes and the mixing of information that takes place.

Koch’s work in the Sharper Edges exhibit is on view through February 19, 2019.


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