Delicate Fractures

Katie St. Clair and Jacci Delaney create complete works from intricate, fractured pieces. Patterns, repetition, color, beauty and artistic resolution result.

Cincinnati Art Underground is pleased to present Delicate Fractures, a joint show presenting the works of two talented, rising artists, Katie St. Clair and Jacci Delaney. The exhibition runs through Friday, February 12, 2016.

“These little worlds woven out of intricate parts are in constant flux: cycles of life, death, decay, new life,” St. Clair.

St. Clair works in collage and paint to convey the experience of wading through nature, and to share the experience of unexpected discovery. “In my studio, I communicate the emotional and physical experience of crawling around in the brush, making connections and touching everything I encounter.”

She collects images by photographing all that she discovers in wandering the natural world and ignored boundary lands,” observing the beautiful and the ugly, nature and debris, the expected and the unexpected. Like a kaleidoscope, her fractured observations reconnect through rhythmic patterns and repetitions as she composes her large-scale, intricate works from hundreds of paper fragments.

Delaney works in glass, casting from unexpected materials and using innovative techniques to create groundbreaking works that also inspire a sense of discovery. Delaney’s Bubble Wrap series resulted from her desire to cast glass using a tactile and commonplace material. “People always want to touch my sculptures.”

Like St. Clair’s works, Delaney’s sculptures are composed of hundreds of fractures. The most vivid, Citrine Volume and Cranberry Volume, resulted from a kiln power surge that fractured the original shapes into hundreds of pieces. Over the next nine months, Delany patiently assembled the works, piece by piece, with an epoxy she mixed with vibrant textile dye used by only a handful of artists in the glass world.

“I had taken something broken and put it back together. The result was more beautiful than it was before.” Her inspiration came from Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

St. Clair’s works engage our desire to recognize patterns. She plays  with the visual imagery and utilizes repetition to create movement, “firing” our brains: “The first time our brain sees an image, it tries to recognize it: the second time, it recognizes that it’s seen it (the image) before; the third time, it realizes it’s seen it before and experiences an endorphin rush because we’ve seen it and we know it.” In Cadence, the rhythmic repetition of images of a near-extinct snake weave below a collection of mullein flowers, in tones of blue. The result is stunning and harmonious.

Delaney uses facial casting, combined with the tactile appeal of bubble wrap, to create brittle and textured works with depth and approachability. “The drowning of the sorrow stopped a year later, shows a man who lost his wife, then drank for a year, until his friends figured out what was going on. It’s a work about coming through loss; about triumphing and coming through.” She is inspired by the potential for vibrancy, then transformation, in something broken or breaking down.

Both artists found vibrant manifestations of life in the places where they least expected to encounter it. Delaney finds vibrancy in the aftermath of grief, when a person realized they still have a life to live after the loss of someone they love. St. Clair sees vibrancy in the underbelly of the outdoor environments that she explores. She finds life and decay; the decay itself can be expressed and celebrated, while Delaney’s works pass through decay, as a transitional stage that moves on to life.

St. Clair and Delaney overcome the challenge of conveying the feelings of a sensory experience created by the imperfections and limitations of their chosen artistic materials. The results are vibrant, beautiful and mesmerizing. 

Cincinnati Art Underground is located at 1415 Main Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information you can call 513.903.0623 or visit