I associate the significant moments of my life with the character of the light at the time. My sculptures are places to generate this experience; compressed into light and shadow, I return them to the world as a physical poem. – Christopher Wilmarth
Christopher Wilmarth was widely known for his abstract work in glass and steel. In his sculpture, glass is used as a solid manifestation of light.
Gyes Arcade is an arrangement of flat and curved commercial plate glass elements that are cut, acid-etched, stacked, and balanced. These elements form an abstract floor composition that both reflects light (transparent elements) and absorbs it (etched elements). Other contradictions are apparent in the glass itself (the material’s strength and fragility) and in the composition of the sculpture (seemingly casual but complicated to assemble).
In 1969, glass was rarely seen in contemporary art, especially in large-scale sculpture. However, the American Studio Glass movement was gathering national momentum. Many studio glass artists looked at contemporary sculpture, such as Gyes Arcade, for inspiration on how glass might be treated artistically. Gyes Arcade reflects an important period in 20th-century sculpture. It also preserves a critical moment in 20th-century glass that was an intensely creative time of experimentation and exploration in the radical uses of glass for art.