Opening tonight at Pittsburgh’s Morgan Contemporary Glass, an exhibition entitled “Texture and Tension” places an emphasis on conveying thought-provoking content by changing the way glass objects are perceived. The artists — which include Alex Bernstein, Marsha Blaker, Paul Desomma, Byul Go, Romina Gonzales & Edison Zapata, Sungsoo Kim, Weston Lambert, Nick Leonoff, and Mark Leputa — have painstakingly worked to remove the shine and reflectivity of glass to give it an entirely new allure and perspective. By changing the texture, they hope to widen the range of expression that glass is able to portray, and to subvert the eye-catching nature of a shiny glass surface, which some feel is a barrier to serious content.
The board of directors of Espace Verre, the Montreal nonprofit glass center that offers courses, exhibitions, and studio facilities to promote the glass arts, has made a change at the board president level. HEC professor of accounting studies Johanne Turbide, an expert in non-profit finance and governance, will step down after 12 years of guiding the organization, which included steering the organiztaion through a $3 million renovation project in 2009. Taking over the top board position will be artist Catherine Labonté, a graduate of the Espace Verre educational program in 2002 and a successful artist in her own right.
UPDATED 9/6/2104 9:20 PM EST
Glass artist Paul Stankard's remarkable rise from scientific flameworker to pioneering botanical sculptor was scheduled to be featured in the next national broadcast of CBS Sunday Morning, the long-running news magazine. Scheduled to air this Sunday, September 7, 2014 from 9 to 10:30 AM Eastern and Pacific (8 to 9:30 AM Central and Mountain), the network news program was to feature interviews with Stankard at his Mantua, New Jersey, home and studio, as well as footage from the Arthur Rubloff Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, where his 2012 work Honeybee Swarm with Flowers and Fruit is prominently featured. However, due to the recent death of Joan Rivers (1933 - 2014), the scheduled report on Stankard will be postponed until later in the season in order to make room for reporting on the late comedian's life and career.
The fall gallery season gets into full swing with several galleries opening exhibitions featuring glass today and tomorrow evening. In New York, Heller Gallery will launch its Fall 2014 season with "Toy Chronicles," a solo exhibition of work by artist Christina Bothwell. Opening this evening and continuing through September 27th, the exhibit features 12 new cast-glass works that also incorporate clay and vintage toy parts. Bothwell is known for her mixing of materials and concepts — the works touchstones for myths and dreams, with plenty of room for viewers to supply their own interpretations. In the same arts district of Manhattan, Claire Oliver Gallery will showcase new work by Judith Schaechter, who is exploring three-dimensional carved glass work in addition to new stained-glass lightbox works.
In his new "Shadow" series, and in select pieces in his latest body of work debuting this evening at Traver Gallery in Seattle, John Kiley leaves transparency behind (for now) in works that push his established forms — cutaways that reveal the interior arcs and curves of joined hand-blown glass spheres — into more purely architectural territory with dark outer skins encasing glowing chromatic interiors. In one larger-scale non-glass work, Kiley even moves into the digital realm with a 3-D drawing that was output in high-density foam and coated in resin and buffed high-gloss automative paints.
The Glass Art Society has announced that its annual Lifetime Achievement Award, the artist organization's highest honor given to individuals who have made "outstanding contributions to the development of the glass arts worldwide," will be presented to artist Paul Stankard at the 2015 conference in San Jose, California. The organization has also announced the recipient of its Honorary Lifetime Membership Award for outstanding service to the Glass Art Society: artist, educator and arts administrator Mary B. White.
The Fall 2014 edition of GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly (#134) will hit newsstands and subscriber mailboxes over the next few days. On the cover is Joyce J. Scott’s work Congo III (2008) which reads at first glance as a glass beaded figurative folk artwork. But something draws us to look more closely, when, disarmed by our first impression of homespun craft, we take in the doll-like figure's presentation more carefully as the contorted body and facial expression reveal we are gazing at an African woman who is a victim of rape. The title alerts us to the work's reference to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country wracked by violence of all kinds, including sexual violence at unprecendented scale.
In a 2010 interview, artist Judith Schaechter told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: "There’s only one challenge for me, and that’s to develop beyond what I think I am capable of — conceptually, design-wise, and technically." In her latest solo exhibition opening at Claire Oliver Gallery in New York City's Chelsea art district on September 4th and running through October 25th, 2014, Schaechter will unveil a major development in her career with ten new three-dimensional works, opaque figures hand-carved from kiln-formed glass.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney, in Kearney, Nebraska, has appointed artist Steven A. Ramsey as assistant professor of glass and sculpture for its undergraduate programs. Ramsey left his decade-long position as professor of foundation studies at the Savanah College of Art and Design in Savanah, Georgia, where he taught courses on digital applications for sculpture as well as architectural glass preservation techniques. A practicing glass artist represented by Marta Hewett Gallery, Ramsey also has worked as a graphic designer. He holds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art (1983) and an MFA from Illinois State University (1989).
Brian Chivers plays drums, not guitar. For most of his 35-year career in the city of Waukashaw, Wisconsin, he has worked as a glass glazier replacing storefront windows rather than as a designer of musical instruments. But Chivers' uncanny ability to cut flat glass with a standard wood-handled glass cutter into intricate shapes led to him making glass guitar wall sculptures for his friends. When Chivers decided to present one of his guitar sculptures to fellow Waukashaw native and musical legend Les Paul after a 2007 concert in Milwaukee, the innovator of the solid-body electric guitar encouraged Chivers to develop a working glass guitar. Though Paul died in 2009 before Chivers felt he had perfected his prototype, the glass glazier found his calling. He has continued to develop his innovative glass electric guitar with his company BC Glass Studio in successive prototypes, and he is now on the fourth generation model which is as light as a wooden electric guitar (Chivers models his glass axes after the Gibson Les Paul wooden guitar) and far more eye-catching. The clear tone and uniquely transparent appearance of the guitar has won the attention of rock stars including Mick Jones, guitarist and founding member of the band Foreigner, who Chivers met backstage while showing off his guitar at a music festival.