Nina Westman’s newest installation in The Glass Factory in Boda Glasbruk, Sweden, pays tribute to two-time Nobel Prize winning physicist Marie Curie. Entitled “Je T’aime Marie - I Love You Marie,” Westman’s work encompases an entire room, filling it with sixty pieces made from uranium glass to create a dream-like vision of a radioactive laboratory. The effect of the luminous glass is intensified by the room’s lack of abundant light typically seen in exhibition spaces, instead only utilizing a hint of black light to aid the illuminative aspects of the glass itself. Westman spoke of her work as well as her admiration of Marie Curie in a telephone interview with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet.
GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: What are you working on?
Scott Chaseling: As artist-in-residence for the last three months at the glass program at Southern Illinois University, I've dedicated time into research about being an artist who creates while in transit: looking at contemporary nomadism and its effects on the making of artworks via new geographical, political, and aesthetic influences without cultural pillaging. My sculptures, digital prints and drawings are situation-specific, that is to say, the current position I'm in denotes the techniques applied. Through its glass program, the residency at SIU offers the studio space, great facilities, and an abundance of time to work.
Habatat Galleries in West Palm Beach, Florida, has become one of the first commercial glass art galleries in the U.S. to host a show of glass pipes in a fine-art context. The opening weekend saw $135,000 in sales, according to Lindsey Scott, the gallery's president. In the week-and-a-half since the November 7th, 2014 opening of the "Counter Culture Glass" exhibition, a total of 17 pieces have sold, she said. In total, the Habatat Florida event showcases 38 functional pipes by 41 artists. While there are plenty of retail outlets for borosilicate functional pipes—and venues such as Illuzion Glass Galleries in Denver, Colorado, cultivate an art-gallery environment—even the most high-end of these pipe-focused businesses don't bring an art-world imprimatur, something many pipe-makers are anxious for their work to achieve. As discussed in a feature article in the Fall 2014 edition of GLASS (#136), the trend toward the decriminalization of marijuana in the United States makes the display of paraphernalia less of a legal liability, and could usher in a new perspective on borosilicate pipes.
Brooklyn, New York-based arts nonprofit UrbanGlass, which provides glass programs for several universities and colleges in the New York City vicinity, is looking to hire an instructor to teach its longstanding glass course with New York University. The search is for a talented artist with an MFA who might "provide new direction and leadership" as part of a revamped cirruculum for the NYU course, and potentially have a role in the development of additional academic partnerships. Based in downtown Brooklyn, UrbanGlass serves as the primary studio of over 200 artists and designers, and its newly renovated facility offers 17,000 square feet of state-of-the-art studio space. (Disclosure: UrbanGlass publishes the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet as one of its many programs.)
Last week, The Corning Museum of Glass unveiled its 2014 Rakow Commission work — Garden of the Forgotten and Extinct by Amber Cowan. Assembled out of no-longer-produced milk glass, which Cowan finds in thrift stores, flea markets, and visits to the discard piles of industrial glass producers, the work features the transformation of machine-made pressed-glass objects into densely composed wall works that celebrate the organic and handmade. This manipulation and repurposing of inexpensive glass (which in the case of this work was originally part of a supermarket promotion involving S&H stamps) is a transformation of cheaply made and widely available tableware into a one-of-a-kind work.
UPDATED: November 18, 2014
A relative newcomer to glass, French artist Damien François will be debuting over four years of work in his very first solo museum show at the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Ebeltoft, Denmark, opening in December. Entitled “Games of Matter,” the work in this exhibition is extremely experimental, challenging the characteristics of the material beyond recognition by manipulating glass at its most basic chemical composition to create truly unique pieces. In a telephone interview with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, François discussed his upcoming show.
Celebrating its 30-year anniversary, the Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto will host an exhibition that examines the career of glass sculptor Martin Blank tomorrow evening. The artist is marking his own 30th anniversary as a glass sculptor, and will be giving a talk about his three-decade-career. Ainsley's business relocated back in 2012, moving from a retail gallery space to an industrial warehouse that has been renovated into a formal space for artwork. Blank will discuss his recent projects as well as his creative process at length with clients and attendees, something he gave a preview of in a telephone conversation with the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet.
Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak has earned the unusual moniker of "breast artist" due to her frequent exploration of the female form in her multimedia works. Her latest project, however, a collaboration with the glass studio at the Toledo Museum of Art as part of its regular guest artist residency series, has taken on different subject matter in a new outdoor installation. Over 600 glass beads are kept in place with a series of stainless steel cables in a re-exploration of Sanpitak's earlier work Hanging By A Thread, which consists of a series of hammocks made out of fabric distributed along with relief materials during the severe flooding in Thailand in 2001 (the fiber work was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2013). In addition to the new glass-bead hammock installation, Sanpitak's 2012 installation Anything Can Break is also on view at the TMA as part of a group exhibition in the main museum building, where origami cubes are suspended alongside breast-shaped glass clouds lit with fiber optics and attached to motion sensors which trigger sounds based on the movement of those passing by.
At the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, an LED-lit corps of 60 etched-glass soldiers titled Unknown provided an eerie and powerful provocation to consider our culture's uneasy relationship with military means of solving conflicts. The work explores how individual lives are subjugated to the need for a unified army capable of taking orders and functioning with machine-like and deadly efficiency when diplomacy between governments breaks down. During the centenary anniversary of World War I, one of the deadliest wars in history when outdated military tactics met new technologies of mechanized killing with devastating carnage the result, Scottish artist Alison Kinnaird debuted the piece in association with poppyscottland, a charity that supports Scottish ex-servicemen and women as well as their families. After showing at the parliament from October 4 through November 2, 2014, Kinnaird's installation has begun to tour between 11 venues throughout Scotland through December 2016.
As the 2014 edition of the Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design fair wound down on Sunday, November 9, there was a sense that change was in the air. The red dots were spread around the more than 20 exhibition spaces at Navy Pier's Festival Hall featuring glass, with the Blue Rain exhibition of Preston Singletary's blown-glass homage to Native American iconography possibly the most commercially successful display of blown work. Over at Hawk Galleries display, Casandra Blackmore's reverse painted works on shattered glass sold briskly, as did the cameo-engraved work of April Surgent at Heller Gallery. But there was another strong market trend toward show-stopping pieces by up-and-coming artists who made up for a lack of name recognition with work that demanded greater attention.