An unusual combination of glass and photography is the constant element in the work of Cathrine Maske. Through several years of studies in Norway, England and Finland she has created a new artistic image in which the two different medias are equally represented. By exploring the properties of the glass in interaction with the highly different medium represented by the photography, she has indeed contributed to the renewal of Norwegian glass art.

In 1998 her collection of spherical glass objects ovated a stir. Encapsulated in several layers of glass floats photography’s of body parts such as an ear, a hand, an eye or a mouth. Her work gives several associations: They refer to the human senses – which is not unknown in the history of art – and to something perhaps less pleasant; body parts immersed in formalin for preservation purposes. Yet, the isolated body part invites the spectator to study it even closer; an ear can also be beautiful.

The preservation aspect is present in the objects where Cathrine Maske has encapsulated photography’s of animals species, such as insects, threatened by extinction. The optical properties of the glass are ever-present elements in her work. The spherical and rectangular objects resemble the crystal ball of fairytales, and surprising optical effects are created depending on the angle at which the objects are viewed. Some might be taken aback by the exposure of the body parts and animals; however, behind the thick walls of glass they expose a mystic and melancholic beauty.

By Frank Falch; art historian.

Cathrine Maske