Ruby Wisniewski

My work uses energy intensive materials, metal and glass, to recreate plant life that uses even more energy to function. The result is a fragile monument to the precarity of the environment. I have been making a series of flower-like glass and metal sculptural lamps. The glossy material offers images of surreal gardens of glass flowers, frozen in time or never dying. This directly contrasts the drastic changes our climate is developing.


My interests in energy use brought me to research the work of Nikola Tesla, who invented profound ways of manipulating electricity that revolutionized the world’s use of energy. While electricity powers many of our technologies, it is mostly produced from non-renewable resources such as coal. These non-renewable energy sources contribute to pollution and climate change. We are now facing the consequences of years of inaction towards addressing this issue.The climate crisis interests me as a subject, but the hopelessness associated with it in conversation grabbed my attention.


Ultimately, this hopelessness has become the focus of my work. Our collectively despondent attitude toward our planet’s future has encouraged me to address how we confront depression in our lives: to address feelings of discouragement in the face of huge insurmountable problems. Depression can be enticing despite its darkly dangerous nature. It is incredibly tempting at times to hide from everything, avoid having to deal with one’s responsibilities. However, complacency creates new fears of the future. My flowers are representative of depression as a predatory creature that wants to lure in prey, before consuming it. They use electricity to draw the viewer in like moths to a flame. Just as many electronically run gadgets inspire inaction, everyone has experienced accidentally losing time in front of a glowing screen, consumed by the allure of the media.


I want my viewers to consider how often we confront depression’s presence in our daily lives, and how often we choose inaction because it is easier to avoid than to act. I want my viewers to be drawn in by my work but repelled by it as well. I hope that it feels dangerously enthralling.