Jeffrey Sarmiento was an AiR in S12 together with Stine Bidstrup from February through March 2013. The works created during his residency were shown in the group exhibition Composites together with works by Stine Bidstrup and Damien François.
The exhibition presented three different approaches when working with glass, all experimental in process and idea. Cultural interpretations, modernist architectural fantasy, and the investigation into understanding the material itself.
Sarmiento’s work is an exploration of culture from the perspective of a perpetual foreigner. His residency at S12 was influenced by his exploration of cultural and local tourist icons, as well as pedestrian spaces. In collaboration with a local print studio Trykkeriet, he created images on glass quoting old historical texts and familiar buildings, including a rope factory and Bergen’s City Hall.
Words, images, artefacts, and the urban landscape activated his curiosity and challenged him to look for the hidden narratives. Social history, biography, anecdotes and fiction inspired his interpretations and attempts to draw meanings beyond what is initially visible.
“Whilst exposing the foreign within familiar histories of other people, my creative practice remains autobiographical. It is through the artwork that I can express myself and show the way I see the world around me. Paradoxically, it is how I make familiar what seems foreign.”
After completing his residency in S12 in 2013, he had a mid-career solo exhibition CONSTRUCTIONS at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, England, supported by a publication and an international tour. Several of the works presented in the exhibition were a further development of the works he started developing during his residency in S12.
His sculptures utilise glassmaking technologies both ancient and modern to express the complexities that underpin cultural identity. Digital design, waterjet cutting, silkscreen printing, kiln forming, hand-carving and polishing are combined in the physical construction of his artwork. He builds his objects from glass, using the material’s properties to manipulate the interplay of image and object. Exposing interpretations and fabrication, his concept of cultural constructions visualizes language, artefact, social history, and the urban landscape. Jeffrey Sarmiento’s working methods for image transfer in glass have taken him all over Europe and the US as an artist and academic. As a Filipino-American living in the UK, his work is inspired by foreign ethnic contexts, expressed through collisions of layered images within glass. His travels have inspired a fascination with local buildings, and his large-scale works refer to their possible meanings.
Jeffrey Sarmiento is Reader in Glass at the University of Sunderland, where he completed a PhD in 2011. Educated at Rhode Island School of Design, he has been a Fulbright Fellow in Denmark and artist in residence at UrbanGlass in New York, S12 in Bergen, Norway, and Pilchuck Glass School. A pioneer of print techniques for kiln glass, he has taught workshops in China, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Latvia, Switzerland, Ireland, the UK and the USA. He has recently been a guest critic at UMPRUM Academy in Prague, Czech Republic, a Jury member for Young Glass at Ebeltoft Glasmuseum, and a co-curator for European Glass Context. Known for his creative practice exploring cultural identity and the graphic image in glass, Sarmiento embeds layers of information in his intricately constructed objects, sculptures and public commissions. The cutting and pasting of printed glass involves kiln formed lenticular imagery and a graphic ‘swim’ within the transparent medium. He won the International Glass Prize 2012 at Glazenhuis, Belgium, and his 2013 solo exhibition at National Glass Centre in Sunderland toured to the USA. His collaborative work was included in Glasstress Gotika at the 56th Venice Biennale. He is represented by Bullseye Projects, USA.