On August 29, 2020 we were invited into the Studios of Wilfried Grootens for a virtual studio tour and talk.
Born 1954 in Uedem, Germany, a small town in the German countryside near the Dutch border. At the age of 15, he began training as a glass and porcelain painter with Hein Derix in the nearby town of Kevelaer, where he apprenticed for four years. The Derix Company specializes in the restoration of antique painted stained glass windows, the creation of large-scale painted glass architectural installations and mosaic projects.
Grootens’ current glass work uses the optical float technique. He paints on layers of glass and assembles them in stacks, laminating them together to create cube forms. The cubes are cut and polished to perfection. One sculpture in the series, “Where the Shark Bubbles Blow,” is made from 35 layers of painted glass. For this piece, Grootens painted a circle shape on the surface of each thin layer of clear glass. Made of thousands of very fine brush strokes of varying tones, the painted circle creates a wonderful aqua blue. The circles on each layer recede or expand in size gradually and, when seen together, form a miraculous three dimensional globe which seems to be suspended in the cube. Grootens states, “With my glass painting I fill transparent, geometric spaces whose visual explorations produce surprising variations in forms. Different perspectives on apparent spherical floating built-up forms of linear brush strokes reveal to the viewer new perspectives within the object’s space”.