On July 7, 2017, Traver Gallery, an icon in the Seattle glass art community as well as in the Studio Glass Movement, will turn 40, and it plans to celebrate with a party that evening. Founded in 1977, the gallery exhibits paintings, ceramics, and installation art of all kinds, but it has been the medium of glass where the gallery has had a particularly consequential role in developing the careers of artists as prominent as Bertil Vallien and Lino Tagliapietra. The gallery lays claim to helping discover such notable glass artists as Martin Blank, Sonja Blomdahl, Gregory Grenon, Doug Jeck, Dante Marioni, Preston Singletary, Therman Statom, and Jamie Walker. The story of the founding of the gallery by a young interior designer who discovered a need for better sourcing of local artists, is one of seizing an opportunity, and then executing it so well it changes the field. Seattle's role as an epicenter of glass art would not have been as firmly established without Traver's important role as a leading art dealer in the field.
The Corning Museum of Glass announced a new artist residency program, only this one won’t take place in their studio, but instead in their library. The David Whitehouse Artist Residency for Research will offer one artist up to three weeks in The Corning Museum's Rakow Library, which they are free to peruse (along with the museum’s permanent collection) in any sort of research effort to expand their knowledge of glass technique and history. This residency is similar to the Rakow Grant, which the Corning Museum offers to scholars to conduct research, but the Rakow is reserved for scholars alone and does not necessarily have to take place on site. The Whitehouse residency, on the other hand, is exclusively for artists, is completely onsite, and can last from one to three weeks. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2017.
For the past decade, French artist, Baptiste Debombourg, has exploited the fragility of glass to explore the “evidence of humanity" out of scenes of apparent wreckage, as GLASS Quarterly contributing editor Victoria Josslin put it in a Fall 2015 (GLASS #140) profile of the artist. And Debombourg’s three recent exhibitions prove just as gasp-inducing as their predecessors. “RAGING DREAMS—over the horizon” by Debombourg opened May 19 at Gallery S12 in Bergen, Norway to celebrate the gallery’s 10th anniversary. According to the S12 event announcement, energy and the power of dreams are guiding motifs in the installation, composed mostly of laminated broken glass. Like the artist’s previous works, “RAGING DREAMS” references the destructive power of natural forces with large, immersive and engulfing installations that creep from the gallery walls to its floors with edges that resemble a breaking wave.
The Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) will feature Richard Royal at its annual Art on Fire celebration and auction this September, coinciding with his residency at PGC. Royal, a former gaffer for Dale Chihuly at the Pilchuck Glass School, creates art fueled by his interest in the math inherent in nature, and he is drawn to the geometric possibilities of the material, as well as its optical properties. He's been blowing glass for more than 30 years and combines both blown and solid glass elements in his internationally recognized and highly photogenic work. Royal’s art has been on exhibit at the Mint Museum of Art and Design, the High Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art, among others. Royal is a prolific teacher, including a regular at the Pilchuck School. He has also taught before at PGC. As honorary artist, one piece of Royal’s work from his optical lens series will be for sale at the auction.
Glasstress 2017, on view through November 26 in the Palazzo Franchetti in Venice, is a collateral event, which means it's a satellite to the international Venice Biennale. A carefully curated survey of contemporary art in glass, Glasstress includes work by artists who have devoted themselves to glass for their entire careers, but the majority of what's on view in the exhibition is by internationally known artists who came to the island of Murano to have their creative ideas fabricated in glass. This, the fifth iteration of Glasstress, was curated by Hermitage Museum contemporary art department director Dimitri Ozerkov, Austrian artist Herwig Kempinger, and Glasstress founder and the head of Berengo Studio, Adriano Berengo. This Glasstress may be a high-water mark for bringing the biggest names in contemporary art to glass as the exhibition includes work by Sarah Sze, Paul McCarthy, and Ai Weiwei. With artists hailing from Austria to Iraq, the event also includes a site-specific installation in Murano. The "The Unplayed Notes Factory" is an installation in an abandoned glass factory by Loris Gréaud, who is making his Glasstress debut.
Norman Courtney, the founder of the glass program at Pratt Fine Art Center and a prominent Seattle artist, passed away in his sleep on April 29, 2017. In his memory, there will be a celebration of his life at Pratt this Saturday, June 17th, from 5 PM to 10 PM. Courtney was best known for being one of the leading figures in the Seattle glass art community during the 1970s, and helped to build Pratt from the ground up in order to bring arts and craftsmanship opportunities at little to no cost to lower-income citizens of Seattle. After Pratt opened in 1979. Courtney taught classes in glassblowing and casting as well as stained glass, and even built much of the equipment. He directed the glass program at Pratt until 1982, after which he remained on the advisory board until 2003. To his friends and family, Courtney was a figure of life, laughter and kindness who lived life to the fullest and cared deeply for his friends and neighbors.
When glass artists Anna Boothe and Nancy Cohen come together, artistic accidents are embraced. Instead of tossing aside a mistake, the two consider it important to give value to an accidental creation as part of their effort to create art with a Buddhist sensibility in mind. The artists continue their 5-year-long collaboration in a new exhibit entitled “Permutations: A Collaboration Featuring Anna Boothe and Nancy Cohen,” which will have an opening reception at the Philadelphia Art Alliance (PAA) this evening. The two began collaborating in 2012, fusing together two unique styles and a combined experience of more than 50 years working with glass. Although neither artist considers herself a practicing Buddhist, they self-consciously sought to take on on the Buddhist style of thought as a strategy in the creation of their collaborative art, and they consider the work to share the aesthetic approach of Thangka, an elaborately composed Tibetan Buddhist tradition of painting.
After a dynamic career spanning nearly 20 years (19 and three-quarters to be exact), Jean McLaughlin will retire as executive director of the Penland School of Crafts in December 2017. She will leave behind an institution far stronger financially, more accessible to the physically challenged, and with greater outreach to the North Carolina rural communities which surround this important craft school. And yet the school McLaughlin came to lead remains recognizable to those who remember it before her tenure, a sense of continuity which she was careful to cultivate and preserve in this organization that dates back to 1929.
Doreen Garner's exhibition "Doctor's Hours," on view in New York City gallery through June 18, 2017, is an assemblage of drawings, video, and sculptural specimens that blend revulsion and attraction to provoke inquiry into atrocities inflicted on African American research subjects in the name of science. Most visceral is the response to the eerily intestinal yet abstract creations made from careful combinations of petroleum jelly-smeared glass, silicone, crystals, human hair, condoms and glitter, perched on shelves at nearly eye-level, spot-lit in the darkened pop-up gallery space on New York City's Lower East Side. Garner, who is often present in the gallery space, plays the role of both artist and surgeon as she invites her audience to become literally one with her art by receiving an actual tattoo, which she will administer either by appointment or for those inspired by their walk-in visit.
Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Amy Lemaire explores themes of history as a form of currency in her upcoming exhibit, "History of the Present Moment." The exhibition, which will include glass sculptures seeking to ignite thought and conversation around modern historical documentation, will be on display from June 7 to June 28 in the Window Gallery at UrbanGlass’ Agnes Varis Art Center. (Disclosure: The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet is published by UrbanGlass.)