Wednesday August 1, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

OPENING: Traver Gallery has three new exhibits this month, showcasing the breadth of possibility in glass work by artists Lino Taglipietra, John Kiley, and Preston Singletary

Traver Gallery has three upcoming exhibits that showcase the incredible breadth of glass work. The gallery offers a compelling array for the month of August of breathtakingly intricate, more traditional work from the maestro Lino Tagliapietra in "La Poesia Della Forma" ("The Poetry of Forms, in English). Then there's the bold, shattered and reconstructed glass work in John Kiley’s "Radiant" series. And finally, Traver Gallery will be showing figurative blown-glass sculpture from Preston Singletary's "Beyond the Horizon" series at the Seattle Art Fair from August 2nd - 5th at the CenturyLink Field Event Center.

World-renown glass maestro Lino Tagliapietra's work showcases his extraordinary creativity and unmatched technical abilities. The pieces in "La Poesia della Forma" are dynamic and lyrical visions of what's possible in glass. A combination of new and older work, this show reveals the gradual evolution in forms that Tagliapietra is known for, beginning with iconic teardrop shapes. Tagliapietra constantly reinvents the possibilities of the material and himself as an artist by using different murrine to create new surface textures and color palettes in unfolding experimental shapes with asymmetrical patterning in bold colors.

Lino Tagliapietra, Fenice. Blown glass, H 18 3/4, W 16 3/4, D 4 1/2 in. courtesy: the gallery.

Also opening tonight is "Radiant," an exhibition of new work by John Kiley (who worked as Tagliapietra's assistant for years). Kiley's latest work is starkly different from traditional Italian glass, and represents a bold bid to capture the energy of an abandoned glass factory, Radiant Glass that opened in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1917 and was eventually sold and renamed Southwest Glass. Kiley taught there at one point, but the factory was shuttered in 2003 when a spike in natural gas prices overwhelmed its owner. 

Optically-precise glass blocks in clear, emerald green, and golden hues that Kiley dubs "Fractographs" act as records of this site's history as they have been broken from the thermal shock of glass found on site that has been heated and then poured onto the blocks. For three days, Kiley and his small team of assistants along with the previous owner of the factory, Michael Christman, turned the abandoned factory into a studio to make these metaphoric documents of the collision between the past and present. This amazing abandoned structure, as Kiley described it in a telephone interview with Glass, “has remarkable energy… and I wanted to conceptually capture this place in this material. [We went into] the factory and reconstructed a little melting furnace with found bricks on site, melted glass on site in a crucible, and used that to break these polished blocks.”

The broken block bits were then packed up and sent back to his studio in Seattle to be painstakingly recreated to capture the “reaction between what was there, and transforming what is now.” An indelible record of time, the work in "Radiant" is Kiley's first effort to make site-specific "Fractographs", each featuring a unique breakage pattern that is impossible to reproduce since atoms are arranged in a random pattern in the glass. In addition to the "Fractographs", Kiley has created two separate films, one an alternative view of the moment of fracturing to be shown alongside the reconstructed glass work, and the other is more of a documentary on the history of the glass factory and the poignant responses those who worked in the space had. This body of work is entirely personal both to the site as well as to Kiley as an artist as he depicts a metamorphosis from the trained Venetian style of glassblowing; he says, “it’s certainly the biggest undertaking of my career so far, logistically and financially”.


John Kiley, Crystal Radiant Fractograph, 2018. Blown glass. H 21 1/2, W 11, D 3 in. courtesy: the gallery.

Traver Gallery is also presenting "Beyond the Horizon," an exhibition of new works by Tlingit artist Preston Singletary, at the Seattle Art Fair from August 2nd - 5th in booth G25 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. A leader in North-West coast Native art and studio glass, Singletary aligns this relatively new material to depict iconography drawn from ancient traditions. Engaging both the modern and indigenous, Singletary presents themes of transformation, animal spirits, and shamanism in elegant blown glass forms and sand carved Tlingit designs.

Preston Singletary, Untitled (Black Raven). Blown and sand carved glass. H 21 1/4, W 12, D 10 in. courtesy: the gallery.

IF YOU GO:

"Lino Tagliapietra: La Poesia Della Forma"
August 1st - September 1st, 2018
Traver Gallery
110 Union St #200
Seattle, WA 98101
Gallery Website
Tel: 206.587.6501

"John Kiley: Radiant"
August 1st - September 1st, 2018
Traver Gallery
110 Union St #200
Seattle, WA 98101
Gallery Website
Tel: 206.587.6501

"Preston Singletary: Beyond the Horizon"
August 2nd - August 5th, 2018
CenturyLink Fair Event Center
800 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134
Exhibition Website
Tel: 206.587.6501

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.