Saturday, June 23, 2012

Urge: Catching the Collector's Eye @ Duncan McClellan Glass

The "Urge" show at Duncan McClellan Glass is in parallel with the "Global and Local" Glass show at the MFA. There are at least four artists at DMG that are also in the Museum show. Duncan gave a talk at the MFA show that was illuminating as to the processes and thinking that are behind contemporary fine arts glass making.

Lisabeth Sterling, "And be Merry"

At the MFA and DMG, works by Lisabeth Sterling are on display. The artist's background was originally in drawing and painting on two-dimensional surfaces before turning to engraving transparent blown cameo vessels. Sixteen years later, the work is confident and mature. In these works there are multiple figures, each with its own individual expression, they interrelate, and together with a collective social expression. Change your point of view, and different faces assume prominence, and the potential narrative shifts. The cutaway vases simultaneously conceal, reveal and interact with their figurative content. In conversation, Duncan told me that Lisabeth inserts self-portraits into the work. Looking over several, I could see a face repeating in them, the artist's face.

L. Sterling, "The Virgin"
L. Sterling, "The Virgin"
"The Virgin" is another sandblasted and engraved glass cameo vessel by Ms. Sterling.The view on the left is a close-up through an opening in the vase. As with the work above, note how the transparency, opacity and reflectivity of the various surfaces play and draw contrasts that echo the groupings of heads inside. As with any three-dimensional artwork, I always walk 360 degrees around it and recommend you do the same. On the right is a view of the entire work.

Lisabeth Sterling, "Young Raisins"

For the past two years, the artist has been working with flashed glass wall pieces, whose properties resemble graphite on paper coupled with the translucence of glass. She started carving the steel that the glass was mounted on, then etching copper plates, from which some prints have been made. These have continuity with the 3-D works but are very different. The combination of metallic reflective sheen and the glow of the glass is powerfully seductive.

These pieces gift the viewer the equivalent of a half-remembered dream, partially recalled memory, or daydream fragment, like a loose piece of messenger RNA on which one's own personal narrative can be built.

G. Kuestner, "Lidded Vessel"
G. Kuestner, "Lidded Vessel"
Gabrielle Kuestner is internationally recognized for her glass carving. Her work radiates energy from the tensions between external textures and the translucence and refractive effects from within the glass. One of these lidded vessels is in the MFA show. These lidded vessels look like ritualistic objects, brimming with potential and able to keep their secrets secure until the right time, place and person. They have the tautness of a drum, in this case an instrument played by light and an observant, passionate eye.

Gabrielle Kuestner, "Mosaic Platter"
Ms. Kuestner also makes other forms. Here is a "Mosaic Platter", a cold-worked, fused-glass mosaic. Her technique and vision work to render an effect that is in quanta of color, space and light. One gets the feel that these articulated tiles represent an irreducible truth. Below right, I have included a close-up from the platter to illustrate this.

Gabrielle Kuestner, "Mosaic Platter", close-up.

Congratulations to all the artists in "Urge", to the DMG crew, and to Duncan for bringing first-rate glass works and artists to te area.

--- Luis

 Urge: Catching the Collector's Eye @ Duncan McClellan Glass - International glass artists works that attract collectors. DMG, 2342 Emerson Ave. St. Pete.

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