Thursday February 9, 2012 | by Familiar Studio

Top artists to visit the new Chrysler Museum Glass Studio throughout Studio Glass 50th anniversary y

Dante Marioni, Purple Reticello Urn, 2011. courtesy: chrylser museum of art.

On February 27, the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio will kick off a year-long series of exhibitions and live demonstrations featuring eight internationally known artists who will visit the Norfolk, Virginia, institution in 2012. The Chrysler Museum of Art’s studio, which opened in November 2011 in a former bank building, now hosts classes and workshops for artists and students. It also serves as a workplace for artists in residence. Big names in glass such as Dante Marioni and Ben Moore will be doing demonstrations while their work will be on exhibit at the nearby museum. This idea of bringing art to life was one of the primary motivations to build the studio, and the roster of visiting artists in 2012 spans the full range of glass techniques from glass engraving to glassblowing. “We purposely chose our inaugural group for their diversity in technique, artistic vision, and personal background and education,” Kelly Conway Chrysler Museum of Art curator of glass told The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet in an email exchange.

The series will include educational programs on various techniques and artistic concepts explored in contemporary glass and audience members will have a chance to meet the artists and experience them working. “We hope our visitors will ask questions, seek to understand sources of inspiration, and learn more to appreciate the great skill and dedication demonstrated by these artists,” Conway says. “We want to give visitors a lot of opportunities to observe various glass-making processes in the studio, to see works on exhibition in the museum, and, most importantly, to interact with the artists. “

The 2012 Visiting Artist Series was designed as an educational tool to engage the public in the actual art making. It also was designed with artists in mind, offering them a break from the solitude of the creative process.

“Typically artists pine away in their own personal studios, but for a week, these artists will be creating their work in the public eye,” said Charlotte Potter, glass studio manager at the Chrysler Museum.

These public demonstrations will help demystify the processes each artist uses to create sculptures, installations and vessel forms.

“Students and the general public will get to see these rockstars in the glass community blow glass,” said Potter.

The visiting artists will be assisted by students of Virginia Wesleyan College and the Governors School for the Arts, two community partners of the museum and its studio.

The series starts with a tripod of three celebrated glass artists —Benjamin Moore, Dante Marioni and Janusz Pozniak, (Exhibition dates: January 27– March 18, Studio Visit: February 29–March 4).

Dante Marioni, Janusz Po?niak, and Benjamin Moore (left to right) photo: Russell Johnson

Dante Marioni and Janusz Pozniak share some common structural themes in their pieces which tend to be tall and slender in form. Pozniak’s work has been described in the Columbus Dispatch as “figure-like forms” with “elongated elegance with a hint of motion.” Pozniak is one of Seattle’s most distinguished young glass artists. He has worked with both Moore and Marioni.

Marioni’s work can be found in museums throughout the world. Like Moore and Pozniak, bold color is a constant in Marioni’s work. He is also known for his mosaic pieces, which are his favorite creations. Marioni wrote in an excerpt from his book Dante Marioni: Blown Glass “When I get them right, the Mosaics are my favorite things to make. These objects came out of the interest that Dick Marquis and I share in the work of the Italian architect and glass designer Carlo Scarpa.”

The next artist to participate in the series, Debora Moore (Exhibition dates: April 25–June 10, Studio Visit: April 25–29), who has worked in glass since the late 1980’s. Her awards and exhibitions include the Rakow Commission and the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft. Moore has traveled the world including several continents and 22 countries where she studied the nature that is so evident in her floral glass work. According to her professional website, Moore “combines realism and imagination in her sculpture, meditating on the glorious wonder of nature and celebrating its power and mystery.”

In a stylistic contrast to Moore, John Miller (Exhibition dates: July 5–August 26, Studio Visit: July 11–15) is the next artist to take part in the series. Miller began working with glass in 1987. His work can be found in the collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and the Museum of Glass, Tacoma. Miller operates his own studio, Ring of Fire Hot Glass, where he concentrates on blown sculpture. Large-scale recreations of diner and fast food icons are his signature pieces and his most popular works of art.

Next up are brothers and Mexican natives. Einar and Jamex de la Torre (Exhibition dates: September 12–October 28, Studio Visit: September 26–October 4) started up a flame-worked glass figure business together in the 1980’s. In the early 1990s they began working collaboratively as studio artists, developing their assemblage style of work. They have exhibited their work internationally in France, Japan, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, and Brazil, as well as in the U.S. and Mexico. Much of their work is representative of their Mexican-American bi-cultural experiences and heritage.

The series will end with April Surgent. April Surgent (Exhibition dates: November 14–December 30, Studio Visit: November 14–18), who has studied with Czech master engraver Jiri Harcuba, at Pilchuck glass school. Harcuba introduced the technique of engraving to Surgent, a skill that has become very predominant in her work. According to her professional website, “Interested in the juxtaposition of using an, ‘endangered’ traditional craft to make contemporary art, her engraved work focuses on making permanent, archival records of contemporary life.”

—Suzann Caputo

Chrysler Museum of Art
245 West Olney Road
Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Hours: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. -9 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays, noon-5 p.m. The Chrysler and the Glass Studio are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as major holidays.
Admission and demonstrations: free
For more information on exhibitions, programming and special events, visit or call (757)-664-6200.

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.