“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 – that roughly translate “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 – it’s 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