21 March 2011

Glass Sparks: Sean Hennessey

The Measure of Value (detail)
Sean Hennessey is a Sculptor, Painter, blogger, propmaker and installation artist, and member of the Washington Glass School family. A graduate of the unique Berea College, Sean worked in professional theater for 10 years as a welder, carpenter, rigger, scenic artist, prop artist, and designer all the while creating his own artwork. Sean has been with the Washington Glass School since 2004 when Tim Tate finally convinced him that glass was cool.

The Measure of Value
Glass, Concrete, Steel

He began his relationship with the Washington Glass School by teaching mold making and concrete casting and assisting various classes. Slowly and steadily Sean began including more and more glass into his mixed media sculptures. By 2010 Sean focused primarily in glass and became a resident artist at the Washington Glass School. His current work uses a combination of glass, concrete, found objects, and steel to create works based on mythologies, philosophy, personal experiences, and whimsy.

We Share What We Have
Glass, Concrete, Steel

A Dream of Flying
Glass, Concrete, and Steel

Sean creates pieces that have the feel of archaeological finds, as if messages from today have been uncovered in some not too distant future. The earthiness of the concrete in his pieces suggests age and patina, slightly covering and obscuring his glass reliefs. He equates the glass with ethereality and the concrete as a corporeal coating. His work touches on issues of overcoming in everyday life--judging yourself and being judged by others, finding and maintaining inspiration, and dealing with dreams and hopes than conflict with our reality.
Ghost Light
Glass, Concrete, Steel

Sean uses the Dry Plaster Relief Casting technique in his work. He sets up boxes inside the kiln, fills the box with sifted plaster power, makes impressions in the plaster, places sheets of float glass on top of the box and fires the glass to slump into the mold.
Sean working inside the kiln.

It's a dusty process

Example of a Mold used for Dry Plaster Relief Casting

Once the glass is removed from the kiln, Sean uses special primers and polymers to add a coating of cement to the surface.

Glass castings fresh out of the kiln.

Adding layers of concrete to the glass

But it's not done yet! Apparently Sean loves adding many complicated processes into each piece! He then goes on to stain, sand, and distress the concrete, adding to the sense of age and antiquity. Sometimes he will paint the back of the glass using translucent coatings to allow light to come through. He then welds up steel frames to finish off his work.

Finding Your Power

Glass, Concrete, Steel 42"x13"

Sean will be one of the artists exhibiting at
DC's Longview Gallery juried invitational exhibition showcasing the people and work of the artists of the Washington Glass School. The show opens in May.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

LongView Gallery

1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC
May 19 - June 19, Opening Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM

Click HERE to jump to Sean's artwork website.

For other glass artist profiles:

Teddie Hathaway

Elizabeth Mears

Jeff Zimmer

Allegra Marquart

Jackie Greeves

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