In many non-Western cultures it is customary to perform small daily rituals to pay homage to nature, ensure good harvests, propitiate the weather gods, pacify the ocean or give thanks to Mother Earth through music and dance. In the Western world, it would appear that our sense of intimacy with nature and wonder at its beauty is being submerged amid mounting anxiety about global warming and the dramatic impact of climate change.
We see the natural world as something separate from ourselves; exploit its gifts without restraint for economic gain, and by doing so turn it from an age-old friend into a hostile force. We show little trace of gratitude and seem to forget that we are ourselves an intricate part of nature.
I can only say that, for me, the overwhelming emotion I felt when a mother whale with her calf swam alongside our boat and looked me long and hard in the eye was a life-changing experience. As was my sense of insignificance in the face of the savage energy of the oceans and of delight at the sight of yet another majestic sunrise over a landscape of drifting icebergs, the Creator’s own magnificent sculpture park.
How can I express my gratitude for this inexhaustible source of inspiration other than by trying to depict the awesome power and majesty of nature in my sculpture? Not aiming to imitate or equal it, but simply to express my sense of wonder as a human being and an artist.
Recently I have been working on a new body of work called The Inward Journey. The sculptures put into form the process of change that one experiences by traveling. When we travel to other countries and cultures not only our outer world changes but so does our inner world and the way we perceive our planet and fellow beings. Even though this is a very personal process I have found that many of my experiences, thoughts and dreams are shared with fellow travelers. The objects pay tribute to mankind and it’s seamlessly never ending journey to a deeper understanding of one self and each other. Seeking a harmonious and purposeful life on our planet.
The Inward Journey
Do you know that feeling when you travel to a foreign place and you bubble with excitement to have new adventures and experiences?
As we travel we enlarge our vision. We find ourselves in new places, new environments and allow to be confronted with other people, races and tribes, cultures, landscapes and religions. We hear new languages, see new animals, eat different foods and witness unfamiliar habits. The more we are interested and willing to open up to these new experiences, the more we get influenced by them.
Indeed, if our outer world changes, so changes our inner world.
Our belief system, shaped by our upbringing, education, religion, philosophies and interests, is being challenged by the belief systems of others. Specifically in meeting our fellow human beings we can mirror ourselves and test our standards and values.
As we see more of our world, we become more aware of ourselves in this world and the world within us.
Although this is a personal process, we do share communal experiences with fellow travelers. But imagine if we travel to the same place at the same moment together, it appears we will be influenced by the same impressions and cherish the same experiences in our memory. Over time our brain colors and transforms these memories and we may remember a journey different from our fellow travelers. So we share the same experiences, let`s say traveling to Antarctica, but we experience it unalike as we think and feel individually as we are uniquely conditioned!
In traveling to different parts of the world, we don`t just gather impressions, we also leave them behind. From our carbon footprint and our physical prints in the sand or snow, to the encounters we have with others.
In communicating and exchanging thoughts and feelings, whether superficial or profound, we create impressions. We share pleasure, beauty, delays, frustration and everything else that may be part of our journey. From a beautiful sunset or a glass of wine to a deep conversation that changes our perception in unexpected ways, we share our differences and our similarities.
In this new body of work, I put into form my experiences and passion for traveling this wonderful planet. It is not so much about the literal image of, for instance, a polar landscape but how seeing it changes the perception of my own surroundings, not just how I see but how I perceive. Experiences often lead to insights. Through these insights, the individual connects with the Universal.
As an artist I find myself continuously inspired and excited, trying to sublimate what is essential, translating that into sculptures. Glass enables me to express the layers that are part of experiencing the Inward Journey.
So… it becomes part of the biggest journey, Life itself.
Peter Bremers, 2013
About Peter Bremers
Dutch artist Peter Bremers was born in 1957 in Maastricht, where he studied sculpture at the University of Fine Arts from 1976 to 1980 and three-dimensional design at the Jan van Eyck Academie from 1986 to 1988. Searching for suitable ways of realizing his artistic ideas, he at first worked with a wide range of materials, including glass, plastic, steel and stone. He became interested in glass as a sculptural medium after attending a glassblowing workship with Dutch glass artist Andries Copier (1901-1991) and Bernard Heesen at the van Eyck Academie. From 1987 on, he tried to learn as much about glassblowing as possible, assisting Heesen at his studio and taking other workships. In 1989 he attended a course given by Lino Tagliapietra at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Two of Bremer’s designs executed by Lino at that workshop were purchased by the Municipal Museum of the city of The Hague. That same year, Bremers went to work with English glass artist Neil Wilken and they worked together for many years.
Today, Bremers works with a team of assistants who carry out ideas at the furnace that the artist has acquired on extensive travels in Asia, New Zealand, Africa and Antarctica. His Icebergs series is based on his journey to Antarctica in a deep-sea sailing ship in 2001, reflecting his impressions of the glaciers and of the waves glistening in the dawn sunlight. After the trip, Bremers traveled to the Czech village of Pelechov, near Zelezny Brod, to have his designs cast after blowing the work failed to create the effect he wanted. In Icebergs Bremers uses undulating wave-like shapes, along with angular holes and arches to evoke a combination of ice and fire, light and color. He recreates in glass the openings and fissures in the glaciers, together with the unfathomable depths of the ice.
“After the cold must come the heat,” Bremers writes about his “Canyon and Deserts” series that followed the “Icebergs” series. This work is inspired by landscapes in the four corners area of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado, including the slot canyons of “Antelope,” the Sedona Red Rocks and the Grand Canyon.
Another recent series, “Transformations,” gives expression to personal changes as a process of spiritual growth. These objects reflect movement and rhythm; change in line, volume, direction, color and shape. They can be perceived as growth forms in different dynamics – sometimes very calm and subtle – sometimes explosive and dramatic. The idea behind this series is that personal transformations are mostly subtle changes on the outside but can have a deep impact and even be life changing.
Bremers’ work is featured in the public collections of Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, The Netherlands and National Glassmuseum in Leerdam, The Netherlands; Glasmuseum Alter Hof Herding, Cosefeld, Lette, Germany; AON, London, England Museo de Arte en Vidrio MAVA, Madrid, Spain; Glassmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark; National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia; Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT; Mobile Museum of Art, AL; Palm Springs Art Museum, CA.
1991 Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum, NL.
1992 A.B.P., Heerlen, NL.
1993 National Glassmuseum Leerdam, NL.
1997 Boymans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, NL.
1998 National Glassmuseum Leerdam, NL.
Nationale Nederlanden Assurantien, Rotterdam, NL.
1999 National Glassmuseum Leerdam, NL.
D.S.M., Heerlen, NL.
Telfort International, NL.
2000 Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum, NL.
2001 National Glassmuseum Leerdam, NL.
2002 AON, London, England.
Dutch Ministry of Justice, NL.
Glasmuseum Alter Hof Herding, Coesfeld Lette, Germany.
2003 Kunstgewerbe Museum, Berlin, Germany.
Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark.
2004 Mobile Museum, Mobile, U.S.A.
D.S.M. collection, Delft, NL.
Kunst und Gewerbe Museum Hamburg, Germany.
2005 Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, NL.
2008 Museo de Arte en Vidrio MAVA, Madrid, Spain.
Glasmuseum Alter Hof Herding, Coesfeld Lette, Germany.
2009 Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark.
2010 Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum, NL.
Palm Springs Art Museum, USA.
2011 National Liberty Museum Philadelphia, USA.
2012 Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, USA.
2002 Leon Salet Arte & Moda, Maastricht, NL.
Riley Hawk Galleries, Cleveland, U.S.A.
* Art Rai Amsterdam with Etienne & van den Doel Expressive Glass Art, Den Haag.
Gal. L`Eclat du Verre, Paris, France.
2003 Gal. LaForet, Verbiers, CH.
Etienne & van den Doel Expressive Glass Art, Den Haag, NL.
Galerie Splinter, Berlin, Germany.
Jacob Bach galerie, Dusseldorf, Germany.
2004 Etienne & van den Doel Expressive Glass Art, Oisterwijk, NL.
Rosenthal Studio Haus, Hamburg, Germany.
Galerie Le Manoir du Mad, with Bruce Thurman, Nancy, France.
* PAN, Etienne & van den Doel Expressive Glass Art, Oisterwijk, NL.
2005 Jan van der Toght Museum, Amstelveen, NL.
Glass Inspiration, Burgdorf, Switzerland.
2006 Retrospective. Etienne & van den Doel Expressive Glass Art, Oisterwijk, NL.
Lee Freed Gallery, Lincoln City, OR, U.S.A.
Raglan Gallery, Manly, Australia.
Gallery Luniverre, Paris, France.
2007 Etienne & van den Doel Expressive Glass Art, Oisterwijk, NL.
Salet Arte & Moda, Maastricht, NL.
Gal. LaForet, Verbiers, Switzerland.
2008 Kuivato Gallery, Sedona, U.S.A.
* Museum Ernsting, Coesfeld-Lette, Germany.
* Museo de Arte Contemporaneo en Vidrio de Alcorcon, Madrid, Spain.
* Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Danmark.
2009 Etienne Gallery, Oisterwijk.
2010 Gal. LaForet, Verbiers, Switzerland.
Gallery of Modern Masters, Sedona, AZ, USA.
2011 Etienne Gallery, Oisterwijk, NL.
* Litvak Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel. LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, U.S.A.
Gallery of Modern Masters, Sedona, AZ, USA.
2012 Pismo Gallery, Aspen, USA.
2013 Stewart Fine Art, Boca Raton, USA.
2014 Etienne Gallery, Oisterwijk, NL.
* Fort Wayne Museum of Art, USA.