An avid fan of frozen treats, Gayle Forman gravitates toward things that melt, spill, and generally make a mess. Artist, designer, and administrator, her studio practice and research focuses on play, imagination, the absurd and the everyday. The work is realized as performance, video, photography, installation and sculpture. First encountering glass at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in her hometown, Forman received her BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. From 2014-19, she was located in Norfolk, VA, as the Program Coordinator at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio.
Forman has exhibited and presented about her work internationally, most recently as a Saxe Emerging Artist during the 2018 Glass Art Society Conference in Murano, Italy. Currently she is in São Paulo, Brazil, researching notions of material malleability, gambiarra, and searching for the wiggle (see for sample of previous explorations) as a 2019 Fulbright U.S. Study & Research grantee.
Photo credit: Echard Wheeler Photography
It’s not that I’m actually trying to fly. I have no airborne destination and am not focused on the physics or mechanics of the airplane. It is not my goal to transport a body from point A to point B, but I am attempting flight. My studio practice is fueled by these attempts. I sift through the frivolous and foolish events of daily life seeking moments of “eureka.” I want think about the possibility of flight, the way that you are suddenly suspended in the air, with no control over your own body or its relationship to the world. The playground swing is an obvious choice for flight. Although flight by swing is a physical lesson in gravity, it affords its willing participants something else—a mere moment, a millisecond really, where they are free. I imagine within that millisecond I could solve the mysteries of ancient civilizations, or invent a way to turn dirt to water.
Imagination and play have become the keys to my artistic practice. The playground is a research site and the world becomes a malleable place when looked at through an absurdist’s lens. By turning situations or objects upside-down, one is afforded the opportunity to understand a new perspective. I look to my everyday life to provide the stage for my absurd imaginations, whether it is reconfiguring a dinner table, setting up a playground within a hot glass studio, or even transforming my bathroom into a vacation. These fascinations take shape in glass, installation, souvenirs, video and photography. I am consumed with daydreams of what could be, and of places I have not yet traveled to, while simultaneously desiring to understand the fabric of any new city I live in or visit. The places that I have seen all melt together in my memories, until I find myself looking for landmarks of one place in another.