Monte Pilato on the northern tip of the Aeolian island of Lipari last erupted in 729 AD. Tools made from the obsidian flows from Pilato have been found all over the Mediterranean, evidence of a complex trade network.
The British artist Alastair Mackie is known for transforming materials from nature into cultural objects. He has created a sphere out of mouse skulls, for example, or he has pulped wasp nests to construct a Victorian paperlike dollhouse. It's a little bit Tim Hawkinson, a little bit Richard Long, with spritz of Mark Dion.
When approached by Glasstress, a curatorial initiative for artists to explore glass and its processes, Mackie decided to melt down obsidian from Lipari and to recast the lava in the form of his infant daughter's hand.
The completed work, PEDM, is now on view in Glasstress's exhibition at the Venice Biennale.
White Light/White Heat will be open through 24 Nov 2013 [allvisualarts.org]
Alastair Mackie artist page [allvisualarts.org]