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Parts of a Whole fuses glass and fibre

New Parkside exhibit juxtaposes glass and fibre

With pieces starkly different and yet complementary, Parkside’s newest exhibit, Parts of a Whole, explores the relationship between individuals and communities

Fibre artist Trish Chung has joined with her niece, glass blower Jemma Van Osch, to create the show, displayed against a clean white background in the gallery.

While the two materials, glass and wool, contrast each other, “glass being hard and brilliant, fibre being muted and soft,” says Chung, the exhibit juxtaposes the two mediums.

Van Osch compares the work to trees growing in a forest, filling up whatever space there is.

“I relate trees to people in the way they compete and support each other. The dynamic of a forest could be similar to the dynamic of a social group.”

In a similar way, her glass work recalls that vision, particularly when supported by Chung’s fibre wall panels.

“I make a lot of punchbowls. When you see a punchbowl you think of a party or a social activity and then maybe you think of a memory you have of that, how weird people are, how diverse.”

The two artists also find their love of their mediums in the processes used to create their pieces.

“With fibre, as well as glass blowing, you are using very basic materials and the processes are ancient,” says Chung. “The material has an innate quality of its own.”

Chung says her artwork is in the process of making it.

“Because you are working with a material that has innate qualities, some fibres are longer so they felt easier, some are shorter or kinky. There are qualities for the material that are so varied.”

“Just like a group,” adds Van Osch.

While both materials rely on the process to create it, they both have to be treated differently to take a final form.

Glass has to be “wooed,” says Van Osch, because it doesn’t want to be worked.

Fibre, on the other hand, “wants to be touched. It’s very tactile,” says Chung, adding that she does have to coax it to do what she wants.

The two artists have worked together since Van Osch was young, doing “fun art projects” together. While Van Osch just recently graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design, her roots are in Forest Grove.

“There is so much influence from the family and all of our friends. I feel like that’s a lot of why I want to talk about community because there are always these big group gatherings and it’s so interesting.”

Their exhibit will open on Friday, June 30 at the Parkside Gallery with a reception at 6 p.m. and will run until July 22.