Wednesday April 13, 2011 | by laguiri

Online magazine sheds light on Spain’s nascent glass art scene

FILED UNDER: On Other Blogs

Currently on the front page of vidrioh! is an article on the Bell-Table, a table with a glass base by German designer Sebastian Herkner.

In a country well-known for its painters, a small online magazine called vidrioh! is spreading the word about a growing community of glass artists in Spain, while keeping an eye on up and coming artists and designers all over the continent. The magazine’s playful name comes from vidrio, the Spanish word for glass. It combines beautiful photos with articles on art and design, covering a range of interesting artists that are for the large part unknown outside of Spain and Europe. Readers can move from articles about jewelry made with silver and borosilicate glass tubing and a series of essays exploring the connection between glass and elements of nature to others on a recent award-winning artist or a duo’s application of grisaille and stained glass techniques to create words within glass sculptures. Even with a language barrier, vidrioh! provides valuable insight into the work of artists with little to no exposure in the American glass scene.

Xavi Muñoz's glass dreamcatcher alters how viewers see his drawings and paintings in the gallery. courtesy: galerÍa raquel ponce

vidrioh! helps circumvent the language barrier by including large, detailed photos of works by artists not well-known outside of Spain, such as Xavi Muñoz, Ana Paul Ferrúa, and Rosa Méndez. Barcelona-based Muñoz, who works in many different media, recently exhibited a sizeable glass dreamcatcher at the GalerÍa Raquel Ponce in Madrid. Ana Paula Ferrúa, an Argentine artist who came to glass from architecture, graphic design, and set design, is currently creating installations for the NONOMBRE project she formed with two other artists. Recent works include Jaula (“cage” in Spanish), which features a wire birdcage with blown glass inside. Headphones on a nearby chair allow viewers to listen to sounds made by the wire and glass birdcage (click here to listen). For AlcancÍas (Spanish for “piggy banks”) they filled coldworked glass orbs with metallic gold “treasure.”

NONOMBRE channeled the piggy bank when creating these glass orbs. courtesy: nonombre

“We get together to play,” she told vidrioh!. “We work together in an interdisciplinary way. The heart of our work comes in investigating the potential of glass as an expressive material. NONOMBRE expresses the idea that art has to confront the unspeakable, the things that escape the characterization that comes with language.”

Rosa Méndez has been nominated for a national prize in Spain for her work in glass. courtesy: vidrioh!

vidrioh!‘s interview with Méndez helps shed light on Spain’s small glass community. She creates a mix of a mix of colorful and futuristic glass jewelry pieces in Galicia, a historically isolated region in northwest Spain. A finalist in Spain’s national prizes in craftsmanship, she reflected on the almost complete anonymity of the glass world in Galicia and Spain as a whole.

“The glass craft is a completely unknown medium, while the kind of work being created right now merits more recognition,” she said. “Being in the craft industry is difficult…As far as I’m concerned, as I continue being interested in what I’m doing, I don’t plan on abandoning craft or glass.”

Although they don’t update vidrioh! daily, the publication has a dedicated group of writers that includes MarÍa Luisa MartÍnez, the director of the Museo de Arte en Vidrio de Alcorcón, and Argentine blogger MarÍa Eugenia Diaz de Vivar, who maintains Objetos con Vidrio, where she profiles artists and includes information on upcoming exhibitions, workshops, and conferences.

vidrioh! is part of la luz viva, a project funded by the Fundació Centre del Vidre de Barcelona that aims to create an online community of glass artists. You can subscribe to the publication at the bottom of their front page.

Grace Duggan

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.