TITLE: Monday Muse - Christina Bothwell
DATE: 3/28/2005 06:14:00 AM
I am so happy to be living in an internet age, filled with T1 lines and WiFi zones. All this technology is a curator’s dream. What better way to reach dozens or even hundreds of artists then email? What easier method of narrowing a selection of pieces down then to view an online artist web catalogue?
This is how I met Christina Bothwell.
Through a series of strange circumstances I found myself parked one night on Bothwell’s web site. Something kept me browsing from page to page, until I absorbed every piece posted online. At the time, it was hard to put my finger on what exactly intrigued me, but I emailed her before heading off to bed.
And then something special happened.
She emailed me back. Immediately.
Ahh, the wonders of instant email communication!
The next day I emailed the exhibition prospectus to her and the following week a priority mail package was at my door.
I still had other artists to collect slides from and an exhaustive museum curatorial review process to bite my nails through, but Bothwell’s work was a phenomenal start and it pushed me forward. Eventually I heard from the overseas curators and her work was accepted for the exhibit. She was thrilled. I was thrilled.
Then, it came time to ship the piece to the museum in Asia. And, again, something surprising occurred.
Each of the other artists packaged and mailed insured boxes of their work to me for a final redirected shipment to the overseas freight warehouse in New York. Christina Bothwell carefully packaged her piece and then, like sending a child off to Kindergarten for the first time, drove from Pennsylvania to New York to personally deliver the piece to the warehouse and inspect the safety of their shipping container. This was a first for me and it spoke volumes about her connection to each piece. I will never forget that.
During the time the exhibit was installed and open to the public I learned more about Bothwell’s career, her husband the children’s book illustrator, and her goals with her next series of pieces. We shared a rare appreciation for Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, where many of her pieces bore inspiration. We talked about visiting the American Visionary Museum when she was next in Baltimore. Then, life happened. Her piece was returned safely to her studio after the exhibit and we simply lost touch.
Just over a year later, her work had a prominent appearance in AmericanStyle magazine (Issue 36, April 2004), which is produced by the company I work. In fact, it was shear coincidence, but the publicized piece was the very same work which appeared in that overseas exhibit!
A handful of weeks passed and soon her work was seen more and more prominently. She received rave reviews (such as in American Craft magazine, Oct/Nov 2003) of her newest work which, as one would expect from her perseverance, pushed harder and dug deeper into what we consider to be "precious" and how we view the thin line between birth and death.
Christina Bothwell creates haunting sculpture that incorporates clay, cast glass, wire, and even occasional taxidermy. Her otherworldly imagery comes from the special relationship that twins have and the strange creatures that only dreams and fairy tales can conjure, just to name a few examples and whet your appetite. What touches me about the work is how chance plays such a strong role during the process of conception and birth. It is rare to have twins. It is rarer to find love. Combining these themes, consider too that the raku and pate de verre processes she uses depend upon chance. Some would call it 'calculated luck'.
There is more, much more, which can be said about Bothwell's work. But, really, when you see the images and you think of her gently wrapping a sculpture and driving to New York… doesn’t that just give you insight into her motivation as an artist? Doesn’t that just make you want to sit back, like me, and watch her go, go, go across the art scene?
Continued best wishes, Christina! Your craft is seamless and your art is unstoppable.