In an informal conversation at the 2009 Glass Art Society conference in Corning, artist Mark Peiser told me how hard it was to come to the many glass-art conferences at The Corning Museum of Glass (they've been held there as far back as 1976), where the adjacent research facilities closely guarded their groundbreaking trade secrets. Especially for an artist as dedicated to the technical possibilities of glass, the conferences put him in tantalizingly close proximity to some of the world's most knowledgeable experts in the material, but with strict controls over who could access the multi-million dollar research facilities. Fast forward to today, when Peiser has just been named the 2019 recipient of the Specialty Glass Residency that pairs artists and scientists to explore artistic applications of cutting-edge glass technologies. It's fitting that Peiser, an artist who has developed innovative and technically intricate solutions to working the material, was chosen. He follows on the heels of former artist residents Albert Paley (2014-2015), Tom Patti (2015), Toots Zynsky (2016), Anna Mlasowsky (2016), and Karen LaMonte (2018), and marks an opportunity for Peiser to partner with the leading experts on the material.
Aptly described as a "pioneer and perfectionist" in the official announcement, Peiser has had a productive a career as a glass artist for half a century. He has personally developed new formulas, including a recent alternative approach to creating white glass using titanium rather than lead.
“This is a very special opportunity, and I thank Corning, and all those involved that will make it happen. I’m sure it will be a memorable experience,” Peiser said in a prepared statement, “Over time, I found Corning to be the best and most complete source for information on glass and have come to rely on them many times.”
“Mark Peiser is a voracious learner and lifelong student of glass, with an infectious enthusiasm for the subject and genuine inquiry into the possibilities of glass,” said Peiser's former studio curator, Susie Silbert, who now serves curator of modern and contemporary glass at The Corning Museum of Glass. “Over the course of his career, he has consulted with various Corning scientists, resulting in rewarding experiences for all parties. With the depth of his interest and inquiry, he is an ideal recipient of the Specialty Glass Residency.”
As part of the residency, The Corning Museum of Glass provides access to its extensive resources, including its glassmaking facilities, collection, and the Rakow Research Library. The resident artist works closely with the Museum’s glassmakers, research scientist, curators, and other staff to better understand glass and its historical and artistic contexts.