About Joel O'Dorisio
Professional Artist and Educator for Three Decades
I have been fascinated with the natural beauty of trees since I was a child. I am influenced by the inherent wonder of the natural landscape and the gritty beauty of the city. Growing up, I spent most of my time living in the urban environment of Columbus, Ohio. But, I spent every summer in the forests of Colorado. From an early age I have wrestled with the fact that aspects of both worlds please me. Yet, under most circumstances, nature and urban civilization do not coexist peacefully.
I use my work to explore cultural tidal zones. I am fascinated with that tiny area where two fundamentally different worlds of nature and man meet, and interact with each other. I combine rough organic textures from trees or stone with smooth machined architectural forms in glass. My sculpture is a quiet metaphor of the interaction of humanity and the natural world.
With the crystal series, I use optically pure glass to create a theatre within the glass for light to play. As a viewer moves around the piece reflections appear and disappear, bringing elements of the organic texture directly into the facets, but only temporarily.
My series of cast colored glass uses formal sculptural elements of line, texture, and volume to express the interaction of light and glass. Glass allows me to use light, along with the density of color as light moves through different areas, to create volume and space within a solid form. Many of the aesthetic elements of how I use colored glass are drawn from the artists S. Libensky, and J. Brychtova.
I also explore my world and my environment through the filtered lens of technology. In more recent work, I capture the transient beauty of a flowing stream and reinterpret it through the use of digital video. The constant chaotic motion of the stream is projected within an installation of trees that have been stripped of bark which are hung from the walls and ceiling. The pure beauty and energy of the stream becomes an artifact. The installation references nature, but in the same way that a stuffed deer honors both the beauty of nature and the dominance of the hunter.
Is the stream still beautiful? Yes. Is there sadness in the permanent loss of that moment of the stream, or that tree from the forest? Yes. Is there value in the digital preservation of that moment? I do not know. Is it ethical for me to possess and consume a chunk of the world? How much do I consume? How much do I need? I do not have all the answers, but I cannot stop asking the questions.
As a mentor of emerging artists, I am dedicated to the development of my students in technical, conceptual, and professional areas. Each of these aspects takes precedence at different times in an artist’s career and finding the proper balance is a continual challenge. Individual students have various degrees of strength in each of these areas. My goal as an instructor is to encourage students to take risks in thinking and to understand that confusion is a regular, even valuable, part of the journey towards becoming an artist.read more
I am conscious of the need to enhance awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity in my pedagogy. My goal is to prepare students for entry into an increasingly multicultural world, both in school and eventually the workplace. I actively develop students’ self-awareness, knowledge, and skills as they relate to both art and culture. Art is a particularly appropriate avenue for the exploration of social issues and the study of values as they relate to specific cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Art can be a lens to examine painful history, personal experience, or cultural subtext in a way that invites the artist and the audience to be an active participant in a new experience.read more