For artist and designer James Carpenter, glass is not a passive, transparent medium. It is a medium capable of being manipulated, either in itself or through architectural elements, to modify natural light, engage viewers, and transform our experience of an interior space and the natural world around it. We see this at play in his large-scale architectural projects like the exterior envelope and lobby of 7 World Trade Center Tower, the campus of the Israel Museum, and the Gucci Asia Headquarters in Tokyo.
Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is presenting Carpenter's work on a (slightly) smaller and more intimate scale with a presentation of commissioned gallery-scale architectural installations. "Carpenter’s work," as noted in Schantz Galleries' announcement of representation, "allows for the play of light with the gathered image of the view out the windows, creating a unique awareness of the site’s surroundings. Carpenter says they offer a 'playfulness and optical concentration of the view beyond. Essentially they offer a new way to read our world in an intimate and tactile way.'"
This enhanced phenomenological experience links Carpenter's large-scale architectural projects with his residential-scale pieces, which continue his exploration of the relationship between architecture, glass, and light. The "Immersive Field" series--the first three pieces of which are now on view at Schantz Galleries--for example, consists of identically framed, hand-blown rondels that act like lenses, creating different variations of the environment they are facing. Jim Schantz, director of the galleries, noted in an email correspondence with the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet that Carpenter's work "creates a personal connection between the viewer and the architecture in the way one might experience an art installation. It borders on being a spiritual experience within the architecture."
Asked how this presentation of Carpenter's gallery-scale works relates to the exhibitions of glass art this dealer has been doing for several years, Schantz stated, "We have been handling commissions and placing architectural works for Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra for many years...Chihuly has generated so much development and interest with the installations...Lately, we are seeing even more interest in architectural scale works. The addition of James Carpenter is part of this natural progression. Part of the reason for our connection with him is a result of our success with Chihuly’s installation work." Chihuly was, in fact, one of Carpenter's mentors and together they collaborated on a series of neon-light sculptures from 1969-1974 before Carpenter went on to serve as a consultant at Corning Glass and establish the interdisciplinary James Carpenter Design Associates in 1979.
The installations at Schantz Galleries also represent the continuation of an important idea Carpenter has revisited throughout his career, namely the exploration of how his design concepts can be applied to residential environments. For Jim Schantz, the presentation of these works fits with the galleries' role "to educate our audience and enlighten. My hope is that this will broaden the interest of our collector base. James’s work gives us an opportunity to bring an additional dimension to our gallery while representing the growth in the medium of glass."
IF YOU GO:
3 Elm Street
Stockbridge, MA 01262