Viewing articles by Olivia Ryder

Thursday July 12, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

AWARD: Percy Echols II wins the first Ron Desmett Memorial Award for Imagination in Glass

Percy Echols II is the first recipient of the Ron Desmett Memorial Award for Imagination in Glass established by the Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC). Founded in memory of artist Ron Desmett, this award is given to an emerging glass artist that challenges conventional understanding of the medium and shows great potential in the same vein as the late co-founder of the center. Then a painter and ceramist, Desmett didn’t start his glass work until a year after opening the PGC with his wife Kathleen Mulcahy, a glass artist herself, who in 2002 asked artists from other materials to “think in glass.” Thus tasked, he began blowing opaque black glass vessels shaped inside hollowed out tree trunks which pushed the envelope of the previously polished and pristine glass vessels, embracing the notion that nothing is impossible and that glass doesn't have to be beautiful to make a powerful statement.

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Tanja Pak, Breaths, 2017. Blown glass.  H 17-22, W 17-21 in. courtesy: the artist.

Thursday July 5, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

CONVERSATION: Tanja Pak wants you to think about breathing (hers and yours)

Conscious breathing seem like a trendy idea, but it goes back centuries as an aspect of religious practice of many faiths. It is also the subject of a new body of work by Slovenian artist and University of Ljubljana fine-art professor Tanja Pak. An artist committed to sculpture, the design of beautiful glass objects, and the architecture of meditative spatial installations, Pak employs her breath to create objects that invite contemplation and self-awareness. For her exhibition, "The Breath in Between," on view at gallery TR3 lin Ljubljana through October 2018, Pak presents a grouping of dimpled white glass forms that bear evidence of their previous state as temporarily liquid hot glass. In these poignant organic shapes that seem to huddle together, Pak seeks to document that meditative moment in between breaths. The gently collapsing glass shapes can be seen as a reference to lungs in mid-exhale. Pak also works in photography and poetry which help to elucidate and expand upon the ideas she eloquently evokes through the translucent glass.

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Mitchell Gaudet, 2017 New Orleans Murder Rate, 2017. custom wall paper, cast glass. H 96, W 48 in. courtesy: the artist

Wednesday June 27, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

EXHIBITION: Mitchell Gaudet turns grim murder stats into powerful visualizations of the human cost of gun violence

It's only June but there have already been 76 murders in New Orleans this year, according to the New Orleans Murder Map created by the local Times-Picayune newspaper. This city world-famous for food and music is also quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most violent in the nation with 157 murders related to gun violence in 2017, earning it third place behind only St. Louis and Baltimore in the grim FBI per-capita crime report. Glass artist and activist Mitchell Gaudet, who was born in New Orleans and who earned his MFA at Tulane, decided the gun issue in his hometown needed to be better understood and confronted through works that turned these statistics into potent artistic statements.

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Thursday June 21, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

CONVERSATION: Robert DuGrenier discusses the work in museum exhibition "Handle with Care" opening on Friday

Perhaps it's the fact that hot glass must be manipulated with implements but artists sculpting in glass seem uniquely drawn to hand tools as a subject. With his latest body of work featured in the exhibition “Handle with Care” opening this Friday at Vermont's Brattleboro Museum, Robert DuGrenier joins Mary Shaffer, Rick Beck, Lou Lynn, and others in exploring the nature and meaning of hand tools by making them, in part, out of glass. (Disclosure: Robert DuGrenier is a board member of UrbanGlass, which publishes the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet.) Expanding on his earlier series “Out of the Ashes,” in which he combined blown and cast glass with the remains of tools and farming implements in a therapeutic process after a fire destroyed his historic barn in 2015, DuGrenier's new work grants tools a second, more permanent life in glass. By manipulating the glass more intentionally to create potentially functional handles for ax and hammer heads as well as other farm equipment, he mines the rich dichotomy between fragility and strength, making the viewer question the functionality of the tools even as they consider the poetic beauty of their highly evolved forms that make them extensions of the human body. In an exclusive telephone interview with the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet, DuGrenier revealed insights into his process and approach.

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Installation view, Rob Wynne: FLOAT, Brooklyn Museum. photo by Jonathan Dorado.

Tuesday June 19, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

SEEN: Rob Wynne activates Brooklyn Museum's period collection with dynamic mirrored-glass wall works

Entering the Luce Center for American Art on the Brooklyn Museum's fifth floor, one immediately encounters Rob Wynne’s ethereal glass works that activate the adjacent nineteenth-century neoclassical marble statues of Pandora, Nydia, The Lost Pleiad, and Bacchante. Rob Wynne’s work re-contextualize viewer perceptions of the historic sculptures perched atop black granite pedestals, enveloping them in a swirling timelessness of hand-poured mirrored-glass wall reliefs. On view through January 6, 2019, Wynne's 16 ephemeral glass works force a reexamination of historic American artworks and are presented in an exhibition entitled “Rob Wynne: FLOAT” curated by Brooklyn Museum chief curator Jennifer Y. Chi and assistant curator Margarita Karasoulas.

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GLASS: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for 35 years.