Solly

John Sollinger (Solly) -- artist, biologist and educator – is an associate professor at Southern Oregon University. He earned a Ph.D. in genetics and once investigated the regulation of plant architecture. However, having learned to make mosaics, now he depicts forested landscapes of Western USA to highlight patterns in nature or to comment on environmental concerns, including climate change, water purity and wildfire.


Portfolio:

Solly's Mosaics

All works created since 2009.

FORGET-ME-NOT FOR LOVE “FORGET-ME-NOT FOR LOVE”

71H x 56W x 3D cm (28 x 22 x 1 inches)
20 lbs
2011

Stained glass (SG) on glass (1-3 layers, but mostly 2; layer1 = large green sheet of SG used as the substrate). The third layer is limited to several pieces.

Fluid double indirect method

This work is a third in a series depicting plants in the C-S National Monument of SW Oregon.

A single Myosotis sylvatica (forget-me-not) plant growing along the Pacific Crest Trail provided the inspiration. Only one inflorescence (a single stem with multiple flowers) is represented here; it is magnified 15 times and viewed downward from a moderate angle.

This unassuming plant offers (us) no fragrance, flavor, drug, nutrient, or fiber. Its simple, minute flowers offer only pinwheels of pale blue.

OLD GROWTH “OLD GROWTH”

2010
16H x 20W 1D inches (51 x 41 x 2.5 cm)
stained glass and native sand
Fluid double indirect method

RADIANCE “RADIANCE”

Stained glass moaic
16H x 20W 1D inches (41 x 51 x 2.5 cm)
Fluid Indirect Method

OH, CALIFORNIA! “OH, CALIFORNIA!”

2010
16H x 20W 1D inches (41 x 51 x 2.5 cm)
Stained glass and native sands

Fluid double indirect method

The tess are minimally layered and sometimes sideways or on edge. The border is sand, and an internal area was grouted with sand.

ASTIR “ASTIR”

2010
16H x 20W x 1D inches (41 x 51 x 2.5 cm)
Layered (1-3) glass on glass. Some tesserae lay sideways.

Fluid double indirect method

Inspiration came from Drakesbad horse-camp and lodge in Lassen National Park, which is in N. California. When I had nearly finished the field and treed mountains but before I tackled the sky, I carelessly kicked the mosaic (I glue after assembling most pieces, so it is "fluid" until then). After rearranging tess in all but the foreground center, I saw Turmoil. Serendipity demanded that I fracture the sky and add clouds of oil (some pieces are iridescent, which resembles petroleum on water, as in the Gulf of Mexico).

MUTATION “MUTATION”

2009
36H x 48W x 1D inch (92 x 122 x 2.5 cm)
Fluid indirect method

Stained glass on tempered glass (originally intended for window display but too much light passing through washes away subtle tone and color differences).

Inverted copy of Van Gogh's Irises of Arel

Inspired by Van Gogh's emphatic brush mark, brilliant hues, outlines and highlights.

Named for the mirror image of VG's work, errors in translation and the lone white iris.

BLOOM IN BLUES “BLOOM IN BLUES”

Iris opening. Stained glass on glass. 5 x 7 inches

HEADLIGHTS “HEADLIGHTS”

Acrylic painting, 1978, 20 x 28 inches

Snowfell - mosaic “Snowfell - mosaic”

20H x 16W x 1D inches (without frame)
16 lbs
Wall hanging
stained glass mosaic

Monet's Magpie -- mosaic “Monet's Magpie -- mosaic”

22H x 24W x 1D inches

This work is meant to be an allegory about the response of mobile animals (and their passengers) to higher -- and rising temperatures. Monet’s magpie searches for a new niche but has reached the end of its favored habitat. It is perched on a fencepost situated in an oak savannah at an elevation of over one thousand feet higher than magpies currently range.

Monet's Magpie commemorates Claude, of course, and this particular field for its environmental and historical significance. This oak savannah ravine is part of the privately-owned Summit Ranch, across the road from the boundary of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, headwaters for Tyler Creek -- and 3/4 mile uphill from my cabin. Uphill of this field lie remnants of an outpost used by Pony Express curriers, who followed the Applegate Trail over the densely forested Cascade mountains down into the Rogue Valley and Ashland.

TWO TUFTS OF PHOENIX DOWN “TWO TUFTS OF PHOENIX DOWN”

22Hx18Wx1D inches

Smokey the Bear’s admonishment to prevent forest fires does not reflect what forest managers and scientists understand to be the natural role of periodic fires in maintaining forest health. I want to introduce Smokey 2.0, a demigod or jinn, to spread the message that many of the forests of the Western US require fire to perform such services as destroying stand-replacing insect outbreaks, reducing tree overcrowding, producing a mosaic of successional communities, increasing biodiversity, and recycling nutrients.

The following story adds context to the composition.

Duende, a forest jinn, having found the tree struck by lightening from the storm that raced across the mountainside, paused near the ensuing wild fire. He both hoped and feared that the fire would attract the Phoenix in its decent, for this would not be his first experience. He aimed to snatch two feathers; however, the searing heat of the encroaching fire already gave him pause, as did the desire to hold onto his past. If Duende were able to withstand the heat of the blaze, then he would posses the Phoenix’s regenerative power in the tufts when they burned to ash. Rubbing ash over his body would mend his heart and renew his body and spirit. Wherever he were now to venture, new life would regenerate from the ash that fell from body.