Translucent rough-hewn cast glass and earthy, pit-fired raku clay are combined with mixed media elements, like rudimentary sewn and woven fabrics, paint, and even the occasional found object in Christina Bothwell’s ethereal human-animal hybrid figures. A sense of beauty and vulnerability is fused with a battered solidity and soberness, the juxtaposition creating figures that appear centuries old worn with the residue of use. The peculiar force of these materials captures and transforms light, illuminating the sculptures from within and revealing phantom traces of animal and vegetal-like images, in a world of pure wonder.
Symbols of beginning and the circle of life, mothers and babies are frequent subject matter in Bothwell’s sculptures. For the artist, the processes of birth, death, renewal, and metamorphosis are intersecting themes. Her hybrid forms and hybrid media explore these and the workings of the unconscious.
Beautiful and somewhat unsettling, Bothwell’s figurative pieces avoid any true narrative yet explore the mysteries of body and soul, of things seen and unseen. “Our true selves go beyond our physical bodies and our minds,” Bothwell says. “That’s what I’m trying to express in my work, even without consciously being aware of it. I’ve always been interested in trying to grasp that truth, what that means.” The sculptures, though autobiographical, invite one to look deeper, to explore personal and universal truths.
Bothwell studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts through the early 1980s and by the late 1990s she was having some success creating doll-like figures out of clay and mixed media, but her artistic breakthrough came in 1999 when she took a glassmaking workshop at the Corning Museum. Her work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, and is included in such important collections as the Corning Glass Museum, Museum of International Contemporary Glass in Denmark, and the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Glass Art.