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Conceptual glass artist brings virtual connections to life in Charlotte's Web
Charlotte Potter took profile images of all of her Facebook friends and turned them into glass cameos.

NORFOLK, VA.- The Chrysler Museum of Art showcases the work of one of its own with the exhibition Charlotte’s Web. The artist, Charlotte Potter, who is the Chrysler’s Glass Studio Manager and Programming Director, combines a tradition of the past and the virtual nature of the future in her contemporary glass network on view from December 13, 2014–June 28, 2015.

In Charlotte’s Web Potter utilizes Facebook as the modern day medium for connection. Historically, a “profile” portrait was quite literally a person in silhouette, and often these would be a hand engraved as a glass cameo pendant. The artist proposes that the modern equivalent has become the Facebook profile picture. Employing images collected from each of her 864 personal Facebook friends’ profile pictures, Potter created a web of handmade glass cameos that references this World Wide Web of connection. “Facebook is what everyone uses to connect to one another today,” said Potter. “This work is reflective of the wild web that one weaves in a lifetime.”

Her social network is organized on a curved wall to establish a very personal cartography: geographically locating each person in the physical location they originally met. “Charlotte’s Web is a collision of the historically handmade and modern technology,” says Diane Wright, the Chrysler’s Barry Curator of Glass Art. “The work explores how we as humans continuously struggle to connect to one another, and it raises challenging questions about how we create and maintain meaningful relationships in today’s digital world.”

Those visiting the installation in the Museum’s Glass Projects Gallery will have the ability to become part of a new web and to create their own cameo of sorts. A stationary camera will allow them to take a photo that will then be turned into a wearable button, but participants won’t be able to take their own buttons home. They will be encouraged to take an existing button that could represent a personal connection in the future as they look for others wearing their image or similar buttons in the community. Participants can track their encounters at #ChryslerConnections throughout the run of the show.

Charlotte Potter, a conceptual artist and designer, holds a B.F.A. from Alfred University and an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design. Trained as a traditional glassblower, Potter has been a pioneer in developing glass as a performance and conceptual medium. She co-founded the Cirque de Verre and the Glass Theater, performance glass troupes that have performed at institutions such as the Corning Museum of Glass and the Toledo Museum of Art. Potter’s sculptures, installations and performances have been exhibited worldwide at galleries such as S 12 in Bergen Norway, The Oklahoma City Museum of Art and The Shelburne Museum. Her work is in the permanent collection of the American Museum of Glass, The Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Henry J. Neils, Frank Lloyd Wright House, and The Chrysler Museum of Art.

At the Chrysler, Potter has championed an eclectic and energetic schedule of conceptual programming, including monthly Third Thursday events that combine music and performance art for capacity crowds and critical acclaim. Her work has earned her many awards, including a 2013 Peninsula Glass Guild Award of Excellence and recognition as a 2014 Glass Art Society Emerging Artist.

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