artist spotlight
MARÍA RENÉE MORALES LAM

share your creative practice:
in conversation with MARÍA RENÉE MORALES LAM

What initially captures your imagination about glass?

 

Initially what captivated me about glass, was the organic and fluid movement glass pieces could embody. This sense of movement was transferred to the piece by the artist, who also had to engage in a physical performance in order to make the piece. Finally the need of being present, while being completely aware of the time passing.

 

What is the significance of the handmade to you?


I could reflect forever about this topic. For me the handmade is what makes us humans – it builds our collective memory, serving too as a private shelter from space and time. Furthermore, the handmade connects us to matter, to the body, to each other, and with ourselves. The handmade is knowledge that needs no words, and yet it is, in my opinion,

history’s greatest storyteller.


What was your route to becoming an artist?


When I finished school, I wanted to study Art in university, but I was too afraid of the uncertainty that being an artist implied. So I studied industrial Design – I have always been interested in objects and materials. Yet, I quickly realized that I had a greater need to work with my hands. Still, I finished my studies. While in the program, I had the opportunity to work with craftsmen in rural Guatemala – humble people who possess the knowledge of generations, using their hands as wise tools to produce heritage. I began admiring this knowledge as it can only be acquired through uncountable hours of work. After school I got engaged in an alternative art scene back at home, and dared to engage in projects that could question subjects beyond aesthetics, and I got hooked. In 2012 I took a summer course at Pilchuck. As a result, I enrolled right after in the master program of Glass Art and Science in Portugal. Studying my MFA at Vicarte was a turning point in my career, the science involved in the program became the main source of inspiration in my work. There I also met my interest in
doing research. I haven’t stopped working with glass ever since, or being afraid, to be completely honest. But I have learned to deal with uncertainty, as my urge to make, question and investigate has been greater.

 

What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?


My main vehicle of exploration is glass. However, the real motivation to work with this material, is the need (or constant invitation) to learn new ways to work with it in order to obtain a new vocabulary of material expressions, often leading to new processes of making with this and other materials. I also enjoy working with plaster. I do not work with a specific technique. I work with ideas, things, and material curiosities, and let them inform each other.

 

How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?


My work can be both research and process based, and is often considered to dwell somewhere
in the periphery of the arts and craft realms. I try not to classify my work, since what I aim to do through it is to rethink and reshape static ideas and notions from different fields I am interested in – hoping to generate new interpretations
or new understandings from these issues.


Tell us a little bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?


I often think that my process has some influence from the design methodology. There are always several steps and planning involved, and I enjoy translating information from one medium or one scale to another. I like to compare my conceptual process to the act of rotating and visualizing an object within a three-dimensional coordinate system. On the other hand, my process of making is slow and my molds tend to be heavy. My work has become an ever-growing mesh of connections, where every finished artwork can be the starting point of a new project, and I often recycle ideas.


Who do you look up when it comes to aesthetics?
Isamu Noguchi


What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?


Currently it inspires me what needs to be discovered or preserved, universal phenomena, evidence of the interaction of things, making, and finding connections. Time and memory are intrinsic attributes of glass, and they are also at the core of my material exploration. I admire Olafur Eliasson – I share his interest in light phenomena. I also admire his efforts
towards raising environmental awareness and his ability to trigger curiosity in others.

María Renée Morales Lam

María Renée Morales Lam is a French-Guatemalan artist born in 1985 in Guatemala City. She holds a BA in Industrial Design (URL) from her hometown and an MFA in Glass Art and Science (Vicarte) from Lisbon. In 2017, María Renée was invited by Iaspis-Konstnärsnämnden to take part of their program as an artist-in-residence in Stockholm. Later in 2018 she studied a postgraduate program in Craft (Konstfack), presenting a group show at the Hallwyl Museum. The artist has also exhibited her work in other solo and group shows around Europe such as the European Glass Context in 2016; Ireland Glass Biennale 2019 and MilanoVetro-35 in 2020. In 2019 she was granted an artist residency with the support of the Swedish Arts Grant Committee in S12 Studio and Gallery, in the city of Bergen.

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