Transpermanent @ Bullseye Resource Center New York: Tomoko Abe

August 28 - December 7, 2019

Bullseye Glass Resource Center New York presents Transpermanent, a solo exhibition of kilnformed glass by former resident artist Tomoko Abe. The exhibition is on view August 28 - December 7, 2019.


With a background in painting and ceramics, Tomoko Abe’s exploration of the transparent qualities of porcelain and paper led her to the medium of kiln-glass, and ultimately to participation in a residency at the Bullseye Glass Resource Center New York in 2018. Abe describes the introduction of kilnformed glass to her practice, explaining that, “… it appealed to me due to my recent interest in creating artworks that are suggestive of objects which are normally invisible, or that lie behind what can be visibly observed.”

Transpermanent features work made during the residency in which Abe explores the space bounded by transience and permanence, and the evolution, decay, fragility, and regeneration that lies between them.

Focusing on the natural world, Abe’s works reference the impact of the elements, whether bracing wind, splattering raindrops, the sluicing of waves, or the displacement of soil. Vestiges of waste and debris are also implied, including objects which contribute to the degradation of the environment.

Using powdered glass on panel and cast elements, Abe creates patterning and irregular-shaped fragments that suggest traces of these actions. The fractured and multitextured surface of Trans White alludes to remnants of an energetic shift. Large areas of markings contrast with expanses of white, with a scattering of three-dimensional pieces toward the center of the composition, leaving us to ponder what moment between deterioration and regeneration has been captured.

In Blood to Milk, two intertwined branches shaped in irregular rings appear to hover in space. Part wood and part cast glass, each ring progresses seamlessly from wood to translucent red to alabaster and back to wood. The work suggests the connection between mother and child; the life-giving connection of the umbilical cord, and later, the way in which nutrients from the mother’s blood infuse milk, sustaining life.

The ambiguous relationship between permanence and mutability, deterioration and regeneration, and the diversity of states that lie between each are traversed by Abe, with kiln-glass providing the opportunity to make them tangible.

Tomoko Abe graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art with a BA in painting (first-class honors). She spent part of her studies at Escuela de Bellas Artes in Salamanca, Spain, on an Erasmus scholarship. Abe’s work has been exhibited in the US and internationally, and she has received awards including the Helen A. Rose bequest at the Royal Scottish Academy Exhibition. Her work has been featured in publications including 500 Raku, The New York Times, and Ceramics: Art and Perception. Abe has lived in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. She presently resides in the greater New York area.