New Mexico Museum of Art

Flux: Reflections on Contemporary Glass

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 09, 2008

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Santa Fe, NM Like the material itself, the discourse surrounding glass is also always in a state of flux. Glass art has enjoyed a growing audience during the past several decades, among museums, scholars, and collectors alike. Glass is now a widely accepted and used medium in sculpture. Flux: Reflections on Contemporary Glass considers the sculptural possibilities of glass, from vessel to minimalist sculpture, blown glass to cast glass, ancient artifact to popular culture icon. The exhibition opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art on Saturday, June 7, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Glass is a malleable, ever-changing material that can be worked employing a variety of techniques to produce a vast spectrum of works. It is used to make intricately detailed, fragile vessels yet has the strength and density to be used in constructing skyscrapers. It is used for the most mundane of day-to-day objects (such as glassware or eyeglasses) yet can be shaped by artists into virtuoso sculptural forms. Its roots go back to ancient Mesopotamia yet it feels singularly contemporary. Glass is, in short, an interplay of polarities.

Many of the acknowledged international masters of glass are included in this survey exhibition, among them: William Morris, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Dante Marioni, Toshio Iezumi, Lino Tagliapietra, Dale Chihuly, Bertil Vallien, Jessica Loughlin, Michael Glancy, and Toots Zinsky as are some of New Mexico's own artists working in glass, including Mary Shaffer, Larry Bell, Charlie Miner, Timothy Horn, Tony Jojola, Stacey Neff, and Judy Tuwaletstiwa. In all, nearly 50 artists will be represented in this contemporary glass survey that will explore the themes of cultural artifacts and appropriation, the metamorphosis of the vessel, and sculptural studies.

Flux looks at contemporary glass as if through the lens of the medium's own history. The exhibition begins by exploring artists who reference the cultural artifact (past or present) in glass. Some re-create ancient Mesopotamian glass vessels, while others emulate African textiles or Chinese jades or European jewelry design. Glass can disguise itself in so many ways that it can appear as stone, wood, metal, or fiber. Next the show moves to a consideration of the metamorphosis of the vessel, which is historically the most common form for glass to take. From simplicity to complexity, the show looks at the myriad techniques and ideas that artists use to manipulate the vessel's surface and form. Finally, at the end of the continuum, Flux presents the many sculptural possibilities of glass from the tradition of Czech cast glass to large-scale installations. This aspect of the show seeks to demonstrate the many avenues that the future glass art may take.

The exhibition features many pieces from Santa Fe collectors Arnold and Doris Roland. When asked about their interest in collecting glass they had this to say; “The attraction of glass to us is the almost magical combination of a rich, brilliant color palette in combination with shapes of extraordinary beauty and interest. We know of no other artistic medium in which this is so apparent. Congratulations to the New Mexico Museum of Art for mounting this show.”

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition with four essays by curator Laura Addison. The catalogue, Flux: Reflections on Contemporary Glass will be 100 pages with 65 four-color illustrations.

An exhibition gala, The Crystal Ball, kicks off the exhibition on June 6, 2008 from

6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Crystal Ball is organized by Friends of Contemporary Art as a fundraiser to support contemporary exhibitions, acquisitions, and public programs at the New Mexico Museum of Art. The public opening for Flux will take place on Saturday, June 7, 2008.

 

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