“Bamboo, Glassman’s primary art-making material, is a rhizome that spawns a dense, horizontal, and sprawling network from a single root, a [more] apt metaphor for nearly all aspects of 21st century life. . .
Curiously, bamboo is at the heart of an ancient Vietnamese legend in which four magic words — roughly translated as “joined together immediately, fell apart immediately”— carry the day, also evoking the quick rise and fall of the preeminence of just about anything. Bamboo, a material at once age-old and futuristic, also forms the heart of Glassman’s art practice that has space within it for evolving paradigms to be examined with both wonder and concern.”
— Carol Anne Meehan, The Drawings of Stephen Glassman, 2012
“But bamboo for me was not just about big, fast, cheap. For me the amazing thing about bamboo is this — when you are in a bamboo forest, even if you are in one that fills an entire mountain, you are in one plant. Below your feet is a vast horizontal interconnected net called rhizomes, and each and every bamboo “tree” in that forest (and they are called “culms”) is merely a vertical offshoot of the rhizome network. Its presence is only temporary — it will be gone in a couple years — but its beauty and strength is only a reflection of the health of its interconnectedness, its underground rhizome network.
So strong is this rhizome network, that in ancient Japan, where 1 in 10 earthquakes on the planet occur, a bamboo forest was the safest place to be. People relied on bamboo forests to literally hold the earth together.”
— Stephen Glassman, TEDx 2013