Inspired by ethnography, my artwork visualizes a search for belonging—the attempt to understand my place in the world. “Research” takes place in cultures foreign to me. I observe, translate, participate, and struggle to comprehend and fit in. This process forces me to evaluate and question what I know. I collect and build up layers of information to show the density of my experience. I carve it away to reveal new and complex readings. Comprised of multiple images embedded in the glass object, my work is quite literally the fusion of form and content. As I move from place to place, the work takes on the characteristic of mapping. But the maps I make don’t always point from one place to another. Instead the works show a cultural terrain. Histories are brought together, and what is foreign is transformed into the familiar. The work is my way of creating a unique connection with the local environment.
Jeffrey Sarmiento, a Chicago native, was recently appointed Senior Lecturer at Australian National University's School of Art & Design. Previously, he held the position of Reader in Glass at the University of Sunderland (UK), where he was awarded a PhD in 2011. Educated at the Rhode Island School of Design, he has worked internationally as a Fulbright Fellow in Denmark, a Visiting Artist at UrbanGlass, and an instructor at Pilchuck Glass School. Known for his artwork exploring cultural identity and the graphic image in glass, he won the International Glass Prize 2012 at GlazenHuis, Belgium. His collaborative work was also included in Glasstress Gotika at the 56th Venice Biennale.