As a glass artist and designer, Jan-Willem Van Zijst is always in search of the meaning of light.
Painting with light ...
Staining glass - or 'painting with light' - is so fascinating to him that he always discovers new uses for new technological possibilities.
For instance, he has used stained appliqués on safety glass and insulation glass, suitable for use in most construction applications; he has used industrial farms as moulds for large-scale slumping; and his use of hand-shaped wooden and metal dies for glass-blowing has led to larger series of funeral art objects.
The recurrent themes in his work are light, painting, life and death, seeing, and the fragment or splinter.
The first pieces in the series Noorderlicht were made during the International Art Symposium in Engelshom (Denmark) in 1996. For this series, he started from photographs of combinations of water, sand, stone, air, clouds, and a rainbow, which he had taken on the Danish coast in the late afternoon sun of a winter's day. These photos provided the images for the series of silk-screen prints on glass. The objects in this series create a double image because the light throws shadow patterns and adds to the play of the illuminating, reflected and incident light. After having been applied on a number of cupboards, the series reached its first climax in an installation for an entrance hall commissioned by the company lmmodent in Antwerp for their renovated building.
The series Sand (1998/1999) is printed in blue and gold and slumped in its mould during the staining process. The large version has a diameter of 90 cm, is built of 19-mm float glass, and weighs about 40 kilos.