23 February 2014

Washington Glass School Blog Moving URL / Web Host

The river of time flows along and things get swept up in the wake. Some updates in the Washington Glass School website have included changes to the school blog. Starting immediately, the new web location for the Washington Glass School Blog is http://washingtonglassschool.com/school/blog

Please visit often!

17 February 2014

Happy President's Day!

Washington and Lincoln. (Apotheosis)” Stephen James Ferris, 1865

Apotheosis "to deify"; "making divine"; is the glorification of a subject to divine level. In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature.

12 February 2014

Old Town Crier Reviews Audrey Wilson Solo Exhibit

Opening night of Audrey Wilson solo show at Washington Glass School Gallery
The Gallery Beat section of the Old Town Crier newspaper has a great review of glass artist Audrey Wilson's solo exhibit - The Aberrant Collection of the Spurious Calamus” - held at the Washington Glass School in January.
The article describes how the exhibit " allowed Wilson to show why she’s on her way to become another giant signpost in the evolving art history of glass." . Pretty strong praise - albeit well deserved! To jump to the entire article site- click HERE
The Old Town Crier is sending love to Audrey Wilson!

11 February 2014

William Warmus on Glass Scessionism

William Warmus - writer/critic/art curator/and Fellow of Corning Museum of Glass writes a response to some comments on the Facebook group page Glass Secessionism. William Warmus wrote extensively about the development and evolution of Studio Glass. In the interest of giving the comments a broader audience - we post below Mr Warmus' text:
Forget and forgive?
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on other [Facebook] forums about Glass Secessionism and its relationship to studio glass. We are not opposed to the conceptual or material thinking that is associated with studio glass, and we hold skill in high esteem.
Our concerns are different. We look for innovation and seek to engender a thoughtful ongoing dialog about glass. The artworld is full of cynicism and infighting. It can be brutal. We want to create a sheltered circle within that context.
I suspect that it is Glass Secessionism's willingness to move forward while others fight the old battles that creates some uneasiness. The idea that it is OK to forget is still quite unorthodox. But to move ahead, we need to sometimes secede and forget. Try it, it is pretty liberating.
I apologize for making this a very long post, but here goes.
In 1992 I wrote an essay about the End of Studio Glass, and in 2012 I updated that essay. I am attaching a long excerpt below. My attraction to Glass Secessionism seems natural to me: after postulating the end of studio glass, why wouldn't I find the dialog that Tim Tate proposed an appealing next step?
As I wrote in the 2012 essay: "Coexistence applies to history as well as the present: We need to find a way to allow the weight of history to coexist with the present, not as a burden...but as inspiration. And yes, by the way, it is also sometimes O.K. to forget!"
Long Excerpt from the essay:
Is it Over?
Published in Glass Quarterly, Summer 2012
The author of an article charting the “completion” of the Studio Glass Movement reappraises the state of glass art.
By William Warmus
“The End” appeared in the Fall 1995 issue of Glass, although essays targeting the same theme appeared in American, Australian and Japanese publications between 1992 and 1993. My argument was that by the early 1990s, the techniques and aesthetics of Studio Glass were essentially complete. Read those essays for the details.
I did not use the term then, but tabletop sculpture seems an apt description of the glass from that period, and I use it in praise: Studio artists (and not just in glass) reinvented small-scale sculpture suitable for display in urban apartments and suburban homes. The work was aesthetically innovative and lovely to look at, or at least engaging. And alongside the artists grew an enthusiastic community of collectors, dealers, museums and scholars. I also observed that Studio Glass is largely about technique and broadening the definition of the factory.
The essay attracted attention. For example, the artists who call themselves Yukanjali (Anjali Srinivasan and Yuka Otani) cited “The End?” as influencing their curatorial and artistic work, quoting: “Studio glass itself is not stagnant, it is complete.” They used the term “post-glass” to distinguish between the new glass and Studio Glass, and concluded that: “Glass is not an art” but rather “Glass is a material. An amazing and wondrous thing that inspires the human spirit to create. It cannot, by itself become passé, although perhaps human intent can be, and maybe that lack of breakthrough is what we are facing now.”
Advance to 2012, the 50th anniversary of Studio Glass. What happened, and where are we now? Certain masters of the field of tabletop sculpture have been clearly established, including Harvey Littleton, Dale Chihuly, Tom Patti, Richard Marquis, Dan Dailey, Toots Zynsky and others.
Although I stand behind my 1992–1995 essays that argued that Studio Glass was complete, my definition of Studio Glass has evolved slightly. It is: a focus on glass as a medium for art that respects past traditions while at times forgetting those traditions in order to innovate.
This definition references Harvey Littleton’s proposition in his 1971 book, Glassblowing: A Search for Form: “The method used by the contemporary artist is a constant probing and questioning of the standards of the past and the definitions of the present to find an opening for new form statements in the material and process. It is even said that this search is an end in itself. Although knowledge of chemistry or physics as they apply to glass will broaden the artist’s possibilities, it cannot create them. Tools can be made, furnaces and annealing ovens can be built cheaply. But it is through the insatiable, adventurous urge of the artist to discover the essence of glass that his own means of expression will emerge.”
The founding of Studio Glass in 1962 was a confrontation of one culture with another: art encountering industry. It matured during a time when no one style in art was dominant (the post-Pop Art era), and yet the prevailing styles of criticism were, and to a certain extent remain, highly skeptical of glass as an art medium. Ash, trash, and fecal matter are widely admired as art media. But glass? It’s kitsch. Or so some say.
This attitude makes me argue that the central problem confronting the art world since the end of the era of dominant styles has been one of coexistence. Can we overcome art world skepticism and isolationism? We have come to see skepticism as implicitly aligned with a search for truthfulness, but why? If anything, it is easy to be a skeptic, and far more difficult to find ways to coexist. And yet perhaps coexistence, in all realms of life and aesthetics, is the most profound (and interesting) challenge of this century. Coexistence applies to history as well as the present: We need to find a way to allow the weight of history to coexist with the present, not as a burden or a negative challenge, in the sense of that which must not be repeated (when in fact it is impossible to repeat history—just try!), but as inspiration. And yes, by the way, it is also sometimes O.K. to forget!
My beloved medium of glass seems unusually open to coexistence. Glassmakers are willing to appropriate other art media; to range from an extremely small scale to a large one; to show their work at galleries, craft shows, flea markets, on eBay; to bond with collectors; to go anywhere, anytime; to have outlandish parties dressed in glass fashions; to engage in “athletic” contests centered on the medium. Perhaps that is what irritates the rest of the art world, this kitschy embrace of all things—even a willing self-flagellation, seemingly forever and ever, over the art-or-craft question. And in the middle of this carnival are the curators, historians, editors and other “gatekeepers” who are trying to discern themes and detect quality....[excerpt ends]

24 January 2014

Happy Australia Day!

Glass Kangaroos; blown glass figurines created by Kevin Prochaska, a Disneyland glass blower for 10 of his 35 years experience.
Wishing all me mates in Oz a Happy 'Stralia Day! Looking for appropriate imagery caused me to reflect. For 10 years, essentially, the 1990's, my wife and I lived in Australia. Working in design in Brisbane, Queensland is where I first was introduced to cast glass. Love the place and the people.
I've become nostalgic for the carefree time I was in Australia, happily riding me favourite 'Roo - "Bazza" - around the Sydney Opera House.
All was fun and games until some unspoken line is crossed and it got ugly.
In Oz, McDonald's are called Macca's... and they serve hamburgers with slices of violently purple beetroot.
And that is normal.
And these friendly critters are considered "little".

19 January 2014

Hallo! Glass is More!

The new international glass news website "Glass is more!" posts about the Washington Glass School.
A new e-magazine all about glass is online - "Glass is more!" Based in Holland, Glass is more! promises to bring a new worldwide review of the glass scene with info on conferences, symposiums, exhibits, new techniques, opinions and essays and the latest in awards, competitions and entries. 
Editor Angela van der Burght worked as the general editor of Glasbulletin, Glashelder and This Side Up! and leads an international team of authors including Erica Adams in the US.
Their new website Glass is more! will cover art, craft, design, history, science and architecture for the collector, layman and the professional.

Click here to jump to Glass is more! home page.

13 January 2014

Opening of Audrey Wilson Solo Exhibit

Audrey Wilson exhibit in the WGS Gallery.

Audrey Wilson’s solo show “The Aberrant Collection of the Spurious Calamus” opened this week to great success!
The glass/mixed media sculptures presented are a collection of ingenuity, with a focus on the delicacy of the calamus - the hollow shaft of a feather; the quill. The feather often symbolizes bravery and wisdom. The motif of the feather is used by the artist in this show as a symbol of ingenuity and invention, and she combines the motif with technological components as a way to capture our complicated relationship with technology and mirror it back with poetic glances.
Audrey Wilson "Wan Hu's Chair" pâte de verre glass, mixed media; photo by Pete Duvall. This work shows Ms. Wilson's wit, as it references 16th-Century official who attempted to become the first "astronaut" by being lifted by rockets into outer space. Wan supposedly had a chair built with 47 rockets attached. He climbed into his rocket chair and had servants light the fuses. There was a huge explosion. When the smoke cleared Wan and the chair were gone - never to be seen again.
Collectors Maggie and Syl Mathis with the artist Audrey Wilson on opening night.
It was also the inaugural opening of the Washington Glass School Gallery, and the opening night crowd gives the promise of more successful shows!
Audrey Wilson's solo show opens the WGS Gallery.
Part of the entertainment was Tim Tate trying to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew - using a shoe. Erwin Timmers - anticipating a wine fountain helps out - ready to capture the wine.

03 January 2014

"Primary Colors" Opens @ Alexandria's Del Ray Artisans

Betsy Mead's "roll-up" vase
Opening with an artist reception on Friday, January 3, 2014 from 7-10pm is Primary Colors at Del Ray Artisans' gallery in Alexandria, VA. This all area artist show kicks off the New Year with an artistic challenge to create artwork using only the three primary colors.
Curator and glass artist  Betsy Mead challenged Del Ray Artisans and all local-area artists to think outside the box in using basic red, yellow, and blue to create their compositions. The only restrictions were that artists must not tint or mix primary colors; they could use white and black to highlight, outline or lowlight objects in their compositions.

In conjunction with the Primary Colors exhibit, the non-profit artist group will feature the movie Primary Colors, a 1998 drama based on the novel Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics.
Opening Reception on Friday, January 3 from 7-10pm: Chat with the artists in the show and other art appreciators during the reception!
View the Show: January 3 - February 2, 2014 during gallery hours at Del Ray Artisans gallery at the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22301. 
Betsy Mead's glass in a flat state.
As a side note - read about how artist Betsy Mead created the work featured as the show's image in an earlier WGS post about what happens when fused glass is introduced to a hot shop! Click HERE to jump to "Roll-up your glass!"

02 January 2014

Audrey Wilson SOLO Opens at WGS Gallery Jan 11

 The Aberrant Collection of the Spurious Calamus”, by glass artist Audrey Wilson opens at the Washington Glass School on January 11th thru 31st, 2014 with a reception on January 11th from 6-8pm.
"Generator" by Audrey Wilson, 2014, 16" x 10" x 9" mixed media, blown and pate de verre glass. photo: Pete Duvall
Audrey Wilson
AudreyWilson's sculptures are a blend of created and altered elements that reflect evolving science and machinery and explore the relationship between man and technology. Technology is merely an extension and reflection of mankind. In fact, no objects contain more human essence than do tools. 
Audrey’s sculptural projects and multi-media works are metaphors evoking our endless manipulation of environment, our need for control, and our longing for a meaningful union with nature and the other, in a supreme balance of power and delicacy. People are becoming increasingly alienated from the objects which surround and sustain them, as they have lost the emotional link to technology. 
"Ibn Firnas' First Glider", Audrey Wilson, 2013, 26"x 9" x 6",
mixed media, pate de verre glass. photo: Pete Duvall
“The Aberrant Collection of the Spurious Calamus” captures our complicated relationship with technology, mirroring it back with poetic glances.
“The Aberrant Collection of the Spurious Calamus” by Audrey Wilson 
3700 Otis Street, Mount Rainier, MD 20712
Opening Reception – Saturday, January 11, 6-8 pm
On View January 11 - 31, 2014 and is free and open to the public.