If you could give grief a physical form, what would you choose? That's one of the questions Debra Baxter tries to answer in her solo show, Love Tears. The artist and jewelry designer merges geodes, metal, wood, and glass in surreal sculptures that explore complex human emotions, like love and loss.
Baxter began creating these works to commemorate a friend who had passed away. This period of mourning made her contemplate how to memorialize things that are essentially ephemeral in nature. “There’s inevitable pain in every form of love,” Baxter explains. “I’m fascinated by the ways in which we decorate this grief and mourning, and I wanted to see how far I could push myself with balancing the immediate, often ornate, demonstration of loss, and my use of permanent materials. This is about loss and legacy.”
While some of these pieces take on a figurative form, such as a pair of lungs or a heart, others are abstract representations of feelings. Love Hard, for instance, features a human heart made of blown glass resting atop a pedestal of white quartz. These two materials are not only known for their longevity, but also for their fragility. So, by transforming these delicate mediums into a part of the human anatomy, Baxter highlights the vulnerability of our own hearts. Similarly, Golden Heart (Almost) is a bronze and crystal representation of the heart that highlights the beauty of deep, and often painful, emotions.