In capturing the transcendent moments between silence, introspection and self-discovery, Sibylle Peretti seeks to find and depict places of mystery and wonder as launching spots in a journey towards the infinite. Ethereal imagery and haunting subtexts flow freely from porcelain sculpture and mixed media panels, which incorporate multiple layers of paper, oil paint, and watercolor on either side of Plexiglas. Through these techniques the artist creates a darkly romantic mix of fairytale and tension. Her skillful combination of engraving, photography, painting, and glass casting exposes exquisitely subtle environments we wish to enter in spite of some uneasiness.
Heller Gallery, New York City, has recently extended Peretti’s current online solo exhibition, Backwater, through June 13, 2020. The show features nine major new works – five wall pieces and four cast sculptures, as well as an installation of Glass Notes, an ongoing collaboration between Peretti and her husband, artist Stephen Paul Day.
Peretti says: “One aspect of my work reflects on our disrupted relation to nature and our yearning to achieve a unity with the natural world. Backwater describes places that are isolated and constantly changing. Living in New Orleans just footsteps away from the Mississippi river, I explore almost daily the ever-changing alluvial land with its magical backwaters.”
Anchoring Backwater is Tchefuncte, Peretti’s large 48-panel wall piece (60 x 80 inches), which combines photography and drawing with surface interventions such as engraving, mirroring and glass slumping. It is based on a photograph she took along the riverbanks of the Tchefuncte river north of New Orleans, an area that was populated by the Tchefuncte culture as early as 500 BCE, and which derives its name from the Choctaw word for a dwarf chestnut, a plant used as medicine by the first people who inhabited this area. Peretti calls it a “temporal place that is likely to soon vanish due to flooding and human expansion,” but the composition suggests a portal, “a waterway that is open to the viewer’s imagination. When you look at the landscape, you also see your own reflection in the mirrored parts of the glass, and you become a part of the journey.”
Peretti received her MFA in Sculpture and Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cologne, Germany, after first studying glassmaking and design at the State School of Glass in Zwiesel, Germany. In the past year her work was added to the collections of the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; the newly established Barry Art Museum in Norfolk, VA; and most recently to the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, AL. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada; the Museum of Applied Arts, Frankfurt, Germany; the Hunter Museum, Chattanooga TN; and the Speed Museum and 21c Museum, both in Louisville, KY.
Awards and endorsements include grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, as well as the 2013 United States Artist Fellowship. In 2018 Peretti’s work was featured in a solo exhibition Promise and Perception: The Enchanted Landscapes of Sibylle Peretti, at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA.
Exploring the relationship between time, loss, emotion, memory and solitude, Peretti’s multimedia collages and sculptures provide a place into which her protagonists- the people and animals that inhabit her work – retreat. Impactful and unforgettable, the work balances the nostalgia of impending loss with the profound fortitude of understanding ourselves… and the world.
In October 2020, during her residency at the Corning Museum of Glass, Peretti will work on a new project inspired by the Werner Herzog movie Heart of Glass. She will explore ideas of the historic importance of making Gold Ruby, and how it can be seen as a metaphor for a collapsing world.