March 29, 2017
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Janice Vitkovsky’s works don’t look like traditional mapping. Then again, one doesn’t traditionally map ephemera.
Janice Vitkovsky, “Impermanence”

On the Map

Ephemeral Mapping leaves the direction up to the viewer.

April 27, 2011, 1:00 am

Canyon Road needs no introduction, pomp or circumstance. (Try driving down it any warm Friday when a number of its galleries hold openings, and its renown and fanfare are evident.) But a little community never hurt. 

The de facto Santa Fe art institution begins a monthly fourth-Friday art walk May 27. The Canyon Road Merchants Association, which boasts more than 100 member art galleries, studios and stores, joins the ranks of other art districts.

(Palace and Lincoln avenues’ gallery associations host first-Friday walks, the Railyard a last-Friday walk.) Coordinated gallery openings allow owners to save money and time by advertising jointly and to rally larger turnouts than they would alone.

Should gallerygoers need more of an introduction to the inveterate Canyon Road art scene, say a map, they’d probably want to skip over Janice Vitkovsky’s Ephemeral Mapping. If they have the road’s twists and one-ways down pat,
heading inside Jane Sauer Gallery is a welcome adventure. 

Vitkovsky, who gave a workshop in murrine glass the day after her opening, uses the ancient and very time-consuming technique in all her works. In it, she cuts and layers strips of glass, fuses them, stretches them and fuses them again. The resulting kiln-formed and carved murrine glass pieces come in a variety of geometric shapes—squares, pentagons, octagons, triangles—and are spattered with energetic designs.

“Direction-Amber” is a green-yellow isosceles triangle that’s 2 inches deep with a 13-inch base and 9-inch sides; others in the Direction series are shaped accordingly. 

“Fair-and-Square-Grey” and “Fair-and-Square-Blue” have nearly 9-inch sides and are approximately 2 inches deep. Though the dimensions assigned to each shape remain the same, the varied murrine patterns fleck with surprising flare so that no two are alike. 

Unlike traditional murrine, in which patterns can be more representative (portraits, for instance), Vitkovsky’s pieces carry emotion rather than exactness. 

Whitish striations stretch through colored glass of varying translucence, seemingly captured amid their own volition. Viewed from the front, they varyingly sweep like a school of fish under siege or scatter like a pile of garlic peels swept from the counter.

Viewed from the side, the white and color mingle, but maintain their separation in strips.

The striations are at their best when they appear most organic and, well, ephemeral. Accordingly, they are least effective when they look more mechanical, like twisty ties or vinyl siding. This is a world of the fleeting and biodegradable after all.

Ephemeral Mapping is Vitkovsky’s third solo show, and her pieces have shrunk in scale, frequently less than half the size of her previous works in the same style. This is unfortunate, seeing as the larger pieces, particularly the more translucent ones, offer more opportunities to investigate the intricacies her labor-filled technique has wrought, to map the mapping, if you will. 

The finest example in the lot is “Impermanence,” roughly twice the size of the others, and more organic than the rest. When viewed from the side, the piece warbles in thickness, narrow at the top and bottom, pregnant with depth at its center. The mostly translucent car-glass green piece draws the viewer into Vitkovsky’s strange underwater world and gives the viewer oxygen to breathe—which is good, because she probably wants to stay down there a while.


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