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Mace and Crown | May 22, 2018

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Review: 'Promise and Perception'

James Finney | Tech Editor

Sibylle Peretti works mainly in glass, but her expertise as an artist, however, is in desire and failure.

Born to the heavily forested and mountainous lands of Bavaria, Peretti dedicates her skill and passion to explore the relationship between oneself and nature. Her new glass exhibit at the Chrysler, “Promise and Perception,” brings forth questions of longing and place, exploring them through the lens of glass-blown forested landscapes.

In the Bavarian mountains, the air is thin, but everything is beautiful. In the forests of Peretti’s work, you find yourself staring, breathless, at the lonely figures hiding from the rest of the world.

Children and animals alike are depicted in a raw kind of exposure. In the void of that space, viewers are forced to fill in the gaps.

In one of Peretti’s pieces, “Banks,” two young boys hideaway in the bank of a river in the forest. They pay no attention to each other. Bright-blue water pulls around their feet. It’s the only color in the mostly grey-and-white panel of engraved and painted glass. Bulbous, protrusions in the glass pockmark the piece like acne. Some of them appear like sticks, others look like streams of rain, dripping down logs and into the pools by the children’s’ feet.

One of the kids is playing with what Peretti calls “Beauty beads,” the little pearls of glass that mark all of the works in “Promise and Perception” as Peretti’s. It’s her trademark.

The children in “Banks”  look wild in a sense. They aren’t wearing any clothes. Their hair is long and unkept. Beneath the appearance of these children, however, the kids hold a kind of feeling of freedom and escapism. Neither of the children looks averse to their situation. They’re not lost. They’re right where they need to be. Their place doesn’t seem to be in society, and that’s okay.

Loneliness doesn’t seem to bother any of the living beings depicted in “Promise and Perception.”

“Pearl River” is a wide-paneled piece of a fox walking by the river. The piece is absolutely slathered in beautiful pearls. They creep along the edge of the river and coat the fox from tail to neck. The fox is covered in these beads, that seem to populate the whole of Peretti’s artistic world, but it seems wholly disconnected from the world around it.

Bits of gold leaf mark the center of the fox’s back, and the animal seems to almost jump off of the glass.

This fox is in a world of its own.

Across from that piece is another glass panel, depicting a pitch-black fox trailing along a bright-white patch of hills near a lake. Next to that piece, is another piece that depicts foxes. This time, it’s a glass sculpture of two foxes clinging to each other. The name of the piece, “Urban Foxes”.

In Peretti’s work, nature and loneliness are synonymous. At the same time, loneliness is not depicted as a sad state of being, but rather as a moment where people can find comfort and understanding within themselves. Nature is seen as a positive, and vital, counterweight to society.

In that way, “Promise and Perception” almost plays with its own name. The exhibit promises to change your understanding of nature, forces viewers to look at the world from a different point of view, and reminds viewers that, sometimes, a little loneliness is a good thing.