UrbanGlass presents UrbanSparkle, an annual holiday exhibition of artists exploring the material of glass as adornment. In the spirit of the holidays, works selected for this installation embody the transcendent quality of glass to glimmer, gleam and sparkle. Against the backdrop of a seasonal shift to the cold dark days of winter, this exhibition features objects of ornamentation and light that only a material as spellbinding as glass can create.
UrbanSparkle opens Monday, November 18th in tandem with the city-wide celebration of jewelry, NYC Jewelry Week. Holiday shoppers in search of a one-of-a-kind gift or the perfect piece to wear during holiday party season can browse this special collection by expert makers.
Five artists have been selected for their nuanced mastery and distinctive approach to wearable glass. James Akers, Mary Ancel, Bianca Abreu, Penelope Rakov and Luisa Restrepo create objects of adornment that emanate their fresh explorations in the material.
About the Artists
A recent transplant to Brooklyn, NY, James Akers’ work often explores excess, mess, consumerism, bliss and rebellion - inherent in his kinetic sculptural forms that are a chaotic collection of disassembled toy parts and hand-bent neon pieces that blink and beep. For UrbanSparkle, Akers exhibits a sampling of his sculptural works in delicious bite size form -- wearable glass “tangles” and a neon “wand” reminiscent of Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz -- a delightful sculptural array.
Mary Ancel’s work indulges lavishness and obsession, using bright colors, sparkles, and rainbows in order to delight and distract. Simultaneously wistful and celebratory, her work navigates a strained relationship between beauty and loss. In UrbanSparkle, New York-based artist, Ancel presents a new age melange of fantastical objects and wearable glass crystals installed as a shrine.
Brooklyn-based artist, Bianca Abreu approaches her playfully mobile designs with symmetry, balance and individuality. Abreu finds joy in every part of her work, from the creation of each individual glass piece to the exquisite finish of a final product. Beyond her masterful execution, the glass that Abreu sets in her jewelry designs is an inherently alluring feature of her work, shifting from lavender to pale blue, aqua to purple, and yellow to pink depending on fluorescent or incandescent light.
Penelope Rakov describes her intricate process as a form of meditation. Through the fabrication of murrine patterns, Rakov relates her artist practice to that of Tibetan sand mandalas. Each piece is made with a repetition of process: pulling the threads of color as they are in the liquid state, to then be cut and assembled in the frozen state, heated again as an assembled pattern and stretched again. Rakov’s work is an embrace of the power of multiples. Intricately carved to thin slices that document her process, Rakov’s work lives somewhere on the line of overabundance and high design.
Mexico City-based artist, Luisa Restrepo presents her reflective collection of glass jewelry titled, Not Arbitrary. Referencing the subtleties of the human form, Restrepo’s work highlights folds and dimples via mirrored blown glass parts that are seamlessly set in brilliant brass. Moving from objects to installations and performance, she strives to use different mediums and means in the understanding of the material, and how we transform it and relate to it.