Thursday February 17, 2011 | by laguiri

OPENING: Justin Ginsberg’s “glass calligraphy” debuts at Dallas gallery Saturday

FILED UNDER: New Work, Opening

Justin Ginsberg, Reflection Gesture (Fragile Moments). H 59, W 24, D 4 in.

Glass, like photography, is all about light. As photography began to evolve into a respected art form in itself, photographers increasingly found themselves trying to move away from the vocabulary of painting though the dialog between the two media continue to the present day. Glass artist Justin Ginsberg embraces linguistic overlaps of art forms, describing his installations of looping, twisting, hand-pulled strands of glass with words more typical of dance reviews and photography exhibitions than that of sculpture. Starting February 19th Ginsberg’s work, including an untitled 23-foot installation hung with invisible monofilament, will be on view at the Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas as part of a group exhibition with painters Brad Ellis and Gary Schafter.

Ginsberg, who will complete an MFA in Glass from the University of Texas at Arlington this year, makes glass “gestures” reminiscent of a ballerina’s graceful movements captured with a slow shutter speed. In an interview with the Hot Sheet he called them “choreographed compositions, created by fusing the fragile crystal strands of glass together creating a mark, wrought through gesture.” If they are calligraphy brushstrokes, then Ginsberg makes every bristle, hand-pulling as many as 1,000 strands of glass for a typical piece (he is waiting to hear back from a Dallas gallery about a proposal for an installation with two to three thousand 100-foot-long strands of glass).

Justin Ginsberg, Long Gesture II. Giclée print. H 33, W 120, D 2 in.

In Long Gesture II, thin strands of glass are bundled together in lithe, sweeping curves and photographed by Ginsberg to make a giclée print; the work looks like a reverse ink painting or a photogram honing in on a masterful brushstroke. The photographic qualities of Ginsberg’s works, not to mention the fact that he actually photographs them, evoke the work of motion-obsessed scientist and photographers like Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and Harold Edgerton.

This untitled 23-foot installation in Craighead Green is made of a bundle of loose glass fibers hung with invisible monofilament.

Ginsberg completed the three-part Existence series, photographs of which will be shown in the exhibition, with the help of Butch McGregor, who invited him to create some of his large-scale installations in empty spaces owned by West Dallas Investments. “I began by doing the Existence pieces in order to push the process and experiment with space,” said Ginsberg. “The long installations are quite sturdy and safe when kept low to the ground, but as I raise it higher and higher, putting more and more tension on the strands, it eventually reaches a point of total destruction. Oftentimes, it will take several days, sometimes weeks, before it just snaps.”

Grace Duggan


February 19th, 2011 – March 26th, 2011
Artists’ reception: Saturday, February 19th, 5-8 PM
Craighead Green Gallery
1011 Dragon Street
Dallas, Texas 75207
Tel: 214 855 0779

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.