Joanna Manousis: Presence in the Past

Philadelphia Art Alliance

DECEMBER 18, 2012 TO JANUARY 28, 2013


Philadelphia Art Alliance is pleased to present "Presence in the Past," an installation of new and recent work by British-born artist and designer Joanna Manousis. Set in the PAA's first floor galleries, each piece in this exhibition is a work of trompe l'oeil mastery. A vanitas painting that appears to glow from within is actually a cast glass frame containing three-dimensional objects, illuminated by sunlight; mirrored balloons appear vulnerable to bronze arrows; a magpie gazes down at his reflection, recognizing himself in a glass jar that contains shiny objects. Her highly individual approach includes a combination of blown and cast glass, pâte de verre, mirror, and found objects, giving life to an array of works inspired by historic interiors, superstition, and the power of illusion.

Artist Statement

“My work captures and animates liminal moments, revealing a world in which objects, beings, and places are interconnected in a state of flux. I appropriate objects that exist in the world as a device to engage a universal audience. Through spatial configuration, context, and material, I use their context as objects to bring about an extended dialogue. I use glass in my sculpture to encourage reflection, both physically and metaphorically, in the viewer. It is the transparency of glass, a solid state of atmosphere that simultaneously reveals and barricades, that I find most compelling. Through the intrinsic material properties and historical associations with glass, I use the medium to create installations that speak of human emotion, cultural identity, and the passage of time. This results in a seamless rendering of surface, that appears free from human touch.”

About the Artist

Joanna Manousis lives and works in the United States. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from Alfred University, and a First Class Honors BFA from the University of Wolverhampton, England. She has worked, studied, and taught in Japan, the UK, and the US. She earned a Bombay Sapphire Award nomination for Excellence in Glass in 2008, and the first Hans Godo Frabel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Glass in 2010. Manousis has completed residencies at the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, the Corning Glass Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, and the Cité Internationale des Arts, France. She currently works as a freelance artist in Columbus, Ohio. Her work can be seen in the permanent collections at Glass Museet Ebeltoft, Denmark; Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Yerevan, Armenia; and the Corning Glass Museum, Corning, NY.