Jim Dingilian Wipes Away Soot Selectively To Create Bottled Art.


You know that black soot that gathers inside the walls of glass-encased candles when burned? Before you just wipe it off with a tissue, think about using a q-tip to discriminately erase parts until you have an image. That’s basically what artist Jim Dingilian does to create his Smoke Art in Bottles.

Jim Dingilian Soot Art

Jim coats the insides of empty glass liquor bottles with candle smoke. Then, using fine brushes and small tools, he selectively erases certain areas until what remains are lonely landscapes and melancholy narratives.

Jim Dingilian Soot Art

The results of his work are hard to believe.

smoke bottle art

soot art

jim dingilian art

This body of work presents delicate images that suggest a photographic process. These drawings are created with candle smoke inside empty glass bottles and are reminiscent of some forgotten 19th-century imaging technique. The artist begins by coating the bottles’ inner surfaces with smoke, and then uses brushes and small implements mounted on the ends of dowels to reach inside and slowly, selectively erase certain areas. The smoke, which remains on the glass, forms the images. These curious, wispy miniature environments are dark in tone and exude melancholy and menace. The medium itself, smoke and bottles, introduces the suggestion of narratives of transgression; when found by the sides of roads or in the weeds near the edges of parking lots, empty liquor bottles are artifacts of consumption, delight or dread. The bottles remain as hourglasses marking these trespasses, their drained interiors now inhabited by dim memories. (source: The Packer Schopf Gallery)

About the artist:
Jim Dingilian was born in York, PA but spent seven years of his childhood in Waterloo, Belgium before returning to the United States. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1993 and completed his MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1996. Dingilian has been exhibiting drawings on found objects, usually employing inventive erasure techniques, for the last decade. His work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, CO; the Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY; the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI; the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, as well as the Aldrich. Dingilian’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the DeCordova and the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, MA. He is represented by McKenzie Fine Art in New York.

images courtesy of Packer Schopf Gallery, Mara Hoberman and the McKenzie Fine Art Gallery