The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Community

September 28, 2013

Bringing the outside in

Insects become inspiration for glass artist Stephanie Cochran

(Continued)

“He’s a proponent of exploring your personal story in your work.” Cochran says that the value in the art lies in sharing that story. “That’s the gift of good art.”

“My job was just to help her kind of tweak out what she wanted to elicit from the viewer,” says Cole. “She has a lot of life experience to draw from. She’s got a lot of resources to tap into.” He anticipates that Cochran’s work will garner more and more acclaim, and he’s curious to see where her artistic explorations will take her.

Bugs and the big questions

Those personal stories wind their way through Cochran’s collection of insect works. Her installation called “Community” is composed of oversized ants climbing diagonally up a wall.

“It’s about me and different social structures, church, school, work, family - the attributes of working together but the destructive nature of groups sometimes,” says Cochran. The artist draws parallels between ant activity and human social structures as she gazes at her work. She thoughtfully asks, “Where am I in that?”

In approaching her work, “DDT, A Third World Problem,” Cochran observes, “That is just such a creepy, glowy thing.” The piece asks us to consider the environmental effects of DDT via a menagerie of menacing-looking mosquitos and an eerily lit industrial barrel. The work incorporates rebar, aluminum window channel, an antique bug sprayer, and, of course, glass.

“I got to do the whole gamut – cast, fused and blown,” says Cochran. She was equally delighted with the metals in her piece. “I became fascinated with what the welder did when I used it improperly. It’s art- it’s not welding anymore.”

In a work called “Price of Progress,” dung beetles formed from toy pieces and buffing brushes crawl across a shiny ebony plane, evoking a stark image.”This is about the oil sands – oil extraction in Canada.” Cochran said it was inspired after seeing photos of the devastation to the land. “I was speechless. They had completely taken the entire ecosystem and squeezed it for oil – and I’m a part of that.” She gazes at her work. “It’s just me kind of being silenced by what my role is in it.”

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