Interview and article by Marem Deal
Our first solo exhibit features glass mosaic artist Katie Wheat Pernu. “Glass Colored Roses” turns the phrase “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses” on its head. “You can’t help but see reality,” the Phoenix, Arizona born Pernu said. “It’s there; I accept it. Bad things happen and keep happening and will happen through your whole life, but also great things happen and I think my artwork helps me find the beauty in the bad stuff too.” She was drawn to glass specifically because it transforms light into a medium of its own. Pernu states, “You can either stop it, reflect it, or use translucent bits that will bring it right through your work. Combining those in different ways was a real joy for me.” Glass mosaics particularly, she revealed, allow for incredibly small detail work that you can’t get in stained glass, allowing for even more combinations.
Her favorite piece in this colorful show—which she says is “a little bit of a secret”—allows this on a grand level, as the piece of furniture she traded classes for has made it so this working piece of artwork interacts with itself from various directions. “I had to keep turning it to get every surface done that I wanted to do,” she says with clear excitement. “[…]It’s too big for my usual work surface, so I had to find a lower surface for it to work on, so for the last two months this item has been laying across my family room.”
A former Broken Arrow Public Schools art teacher, Pernu has seen Arts@302 long-coming and is excited both to show her work in this exciting show and to give classes in a number of mediums at the center. “Teaching feels the same for me no matter who I’m teaching. It’s that joy of watching someone learn something new and execute it and get better at it. That doesn’t get old.”
“Glass Colored Roses” is free and open to the public during Arts@302 business hours through Friday, July 29th. Guests can view the wide spectrum of light, color, and texture Tuesday – Friday from 10am-6pm and on Saturdays 10am-2pm.