In the first half of the twentieth century, American glassmaking was limited primarily to factories where workers produced multiples of the same object. Then in the 1960s, the American studio glass movement was born. Focusing on one of a kind objects that highlighted the unique qualities of glass, the early years of the movement set the tone for creative exploration of the material and its artistic capabilities.
The modern studio glass movement now consists of a diverse grouping of people and perspectives that is the antithesis of the traditional factory production system. Embracing a medium that is defined by opposing terms – hot and cold, liquid and solid, strong and fragile, transparent and opaque – and showcasing work by artists of different backgrounds, Glass in the Expanded Field celebrates the complementary nature of opposites.
Emphasizing the complexity and breadth of glass art and the glass community, the artists in this exhibition use process and concept to challenge the material’s limits. Raghvi Bhatia, Scout Cartagena, Andrew Erdos, and Sharyn O’Mara investigate the connections between past and present while Sarah Blood and Evan Voelbel highlight the blurred line between illusion and reality.
All of the artists presented here follow the revolutionary footsteps of the founders of the American studio glass movement, acknowledging its roots in craft while challenging its limits. Vastly different art pieces, unified by material, question the often-prevailing opinion that glass is simply a medium to create objects for function and decoration. Here, we invite the viewer to consider glass as an expressive, conceptual, and complicated medium, and to question alongside the artist: “What is glass art?”
Caitlin Vitalo, Curator