Saturday February 24, 2024 | by Andrew Page

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: The Spring 2024 edition of Glass (#174)

The Spring 2024 edition of Glass: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly (#174) is hitting newsstands and subscriber mailboxes. On the cover is a striking collage of works by the father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, who, in the 19th century, were hired by universities around the world to create life-like models of plants and invertebrates for scientific study. The article considers the invertebrates drawn from the Harvard University collection, which are currently on view at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut in an exhibition that blends art, history, and science. Because the Blaschkas were not divers themselves, they had to imagine how the examples pulled from the deep would have appeared far below the surface, as the article’s author and experienced scuba diver William Warmus points out in his wide-ranging article that considers how to best understand this work in our contemporary moment.

There’s almost an inverse relationship between the delicacy and difficulty in Marquis’s achievements and the fanciful forms he created, such as wizard hats, toy race cars, and yes, teapots with spouts that hearken back to the Middle Ages, or, for those who prefer pop culture, to Disney’s animation in Beauty and the Beast. Marquis’s works wear whimsy like a disguise, as if to keep the work from becoming overly fussy as he plays with glass form and surface, in works that were ahead of their time. The article explores Marquis's blending together of the approach of the California Funk ceramicists with the traditional Venetian glass techniques of murrine and cane, to create a singular body of work poised for rediscovery, as we see from a recent record-setting auction that set new highs for Marquis's prices.

Like magical storybook scenes, Kimberly Thomas's works are the product of the disparate strands of her career history, which has included Hollywood special effects, pipemaking, and ceramics, which all coalesce into absolutely original works in glass that look like they could be made from metal, clay, or anything but silica. Endless experimentation into surface textures has allowed Thomas to achieve a mix of the believable and fantastical that, as author and Glass managing editor Kinshasa Peterson observes, become invitations to fly away from the everyday into a richer world. Journey to a more complete understanding of Thomas's singular work in this in-depth discussion of this important work from an emerging artist.

Stephen Rolfe Powell's (1951-2019) larger-than-life persona found expression in his outlandish blown-glass vessels, festooned with riots of colorful murrine that were as dazzling as the artist’s charismatic personality when he inspired people to follow an ambitious idea and make it happen. In his feature article, William V. Ganis looks at the expansive legacy of Powell that lives on in his longtime home of Danville, Kentucky, where everything from a new museum to multiple public art projects keep alive the artist’s fantastical vision of what is possible.

All this plus a John Luebtow book excerpt, Gene Koss's reflections as he moves on from his near-50 year tenure at Tulane University to focus on his art practice, an in-depth obituary of the major philanthropist Sheldon Palley, curator interviews, news on major art prizes, and reviews of some of the most important exhibitions in glass.

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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 more than 40 years.