Spanish-born Montreal artist Montserrat Duran Muntadas plays at the intersection between material culture and femininity through her glass installations. Diagnosed with a uterine malformation in early adolescence, themes of motherhood, infertility, and heritage are prevalent in her works. As such, her sculptures become an extension of contributing to her family lineage. Often referred to as Anomalies, Muntadas’ combined use of fabrics and glass are born from and nourished by her inner experiences.
Montserrat Duran Muntadas – A Passion for Glass
Firstly, Montserat Duran Muntadas always knew she wanted to be a glass artist. Even though it was uncommon, her passion for the material drove her to continuously strive for her dream. Mesmerized by the transformative and malleable quality of glass, Montserrat felt that its temperamental nature was similar human nature.
More specifically, under the right conditions, this material can be either fragile or strong. Just as people can be sensitive to their environment and experiences, Muntadas identified with the properties of the glass, and used it to effectively construct her evocative installations.
The In-between-ness of Montserrat Duran Muntadas
Second of all, the transformative quality of Montserrat’s work addresses the divide between Art and Craft. Initially studying Visual Arts at the University of Barcelona, she immediately faced the challenges of becoming a glass artist.
At the time of her studies, the distinction between Art and Craft was more prominent. Consequently, Montserrat’s choice of medium meant that she would only be regarded as a crafts person. In fact, this drove her to take a break between her studies. This was to embark on a two-year program at El Centro Nacional del Vidrio, where she learned more techniques in working with glass.
Furthermore, her sculptures demand accepting her condition as part of her feminine identity. Hence Muntadas draws attention to the expectations about what constitutes Art and Craft. Thus the experimental nature of Muntadas’ work, paired with the use of fabrics that developed later in her career, requires fluidity between the two terms.
Unlike her condition’s startling nature, the deformities added onto the smooth surface of her blown glass structures are deliberate. On one hand, Muntadas’ use of organic curves reminds us of the uterus and ovaries. These have been ornamented with an array of textiles and decorated with smaller flame-worked pieces.
On the other hand, while Anomalies addresses the abnormality within her inner physical self, Muntadas purposefully creates an environment for them to come to life and be celebrated. Therefore, her sculptures’ disturbing nature transforms to one of beauty and growth and invites us to accept their existence.
Furthermore, as Montserrat’s subject matter is deeply personal, she meticulously chose the displayed textiles to connect to the materials she grew up with in Spain. Therefore, their vibrant and lush nature draws on the energizing environment she associates with home and family.
In contrast to her white and more sober works, these pieces speak on the duality of her experience. More precisely, the duality of migrating to Canada while remaining close to her Spanish roots. As she first learned to sew at her grandparents’ home by making clothes for her dolls, the act of dressing her sculptures also parallels the nurturing act of dressing children.
To conclude, I loved that Montserrat Duran Muntadas’ creations speak to the ability to move forward. Moreover, her Anomalies celebrate the emergence of the new and being able to adapt and survive. Furthermore, if you would like to discover more about this evocative artist, you can check out her works on her website and her Instagram for some behind the scenes!
Lastly, it was a pleasure having Montserrat’s artworks in the My Magic Reality Spring exhibit at the Jano Lapin Gallery! At the moment, the Gallery is setting up for its Summer exhibit Wild Trails so we invite you to check out more information about this upcoming exhibit here.