With a spiritual outlook, Jen Fuller explores large-scale glass making and multi component site-specific installations. As her career evolves, the artist views glass as a material capable of capturing ephemeral fleeting moments and outlining emotion. She says, “I’m in a relationship with glass as a mutual collaborator. It does what it wants and is more than merely a tool. It is a living entity.”
In 2009, Fuller attended the Glass Art Society conference in her hometown of Portland and later that year met Warren Carther of Winnipeg's Carther Studios. Both events inspired her to explore glass as a medium. As Carther’s apprentice for three months in 2010, Fuller assisted the artist in building his Aperturecommission for the Winnipeg airport. This introduction to site specific, large-scale work provided the young artist with the emotional fortitude necessary to pursue her own visions in large-scale glass.
Upon return to Portland from Carther’s studio, Fuller was awarded an Emerging Artist grant from the William T. Colville foundation to build a glass kiln, a process that introduced her to Portland metal artist, Steve Tilden. A new arts residency with Recology, the trash purveyors for the city of Portland, resulted in the artist’s first series made from recycled glass and reclaimed materials, setting the tone for future work. Fuller approached Tilden about making metal frames for her Recology project, but he suggested she learn to weld. The two artists formed a friendship and began collaborating on a series of life-size mythical creatures. After eight years of collaboration, Fuller’s glass studio is now located in Tilden’s metal shop.
In 2018, working with the horticulture team of Lan Su Chinese Garden Glass, Fuller spent one year harvesting plant specimens from the garden and rendering them in pate de verre. Her 36 specimens were exhibited for two months in the Scholar’s Pavilion of the garden. Other notable projects include Fuller’s River Memoir for the Milwaukie Courthouse, a site responsive sculpture memorializing the local role of the Willamette River.
In February 2019, Fuller completed a temporary installation titledF(Light)for Portland’s Winter Light festival, consisting of 150 glass paper planes that were digitally projected with imagery of the sky, different color washes, and sound, and installed underneath the 100-year-old Hawthorne Bridge. In March 2019, working with two art professors from Spokane Falls Community College, Fuller designed a glass and light exhibit called The Things I Could Not Sayto teach students how to make and install a body of work. The project made public Fuller’s glass cremation series that she’s been quietly working on for herself.
Fuller continues her exploration of large-scale flight patterns in glass and light, installing a birds in flight sequence in the Thai Pagoda of Olbrich Garden for Gleam Light Festival 2019, held in Madison, Wisconsin. Other new work includes Piano Push Play, Fuller’s glass and mirror piano that will be left in various locations in downtown Portland and on which the public is encouraged to play.