Springfield Library and Museums Association

Springfield, MA



American Glass: Masters of the Art


Dale Chihuly, Gilded Rose Venetian with Chartreuse Coil, 1990

American Glass: Masters of the Art, an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), will be on display at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts from March 6 through May 16, 1999. The exhibition features 56 artworks by 13 outstanding glass artists whose work represents the variety and vision in contemporary American glass.

Included are works by such leading artists as Dan Daily, whose humorous pieces seem to depict human emotion; Judith Schaecter, who brings her painter's eye to the tradition of stained glass; and Mary Ann "Toots" Zynsky, who layers glass threads into glowing bowls. The exhibition also includes monumental glass jars decorated with meticulously crafted animal heads by William Morris, celebrated as one of the finest master glass blowers in the United States.

Dusing the past 30 years artists from the United States have studied and adapted the centuries-old glassmaking traditions of Venetian, French, Flemish, German and other European masters to become some of the most innovative glassmakers in the world.

Artists Dale Chihuly and Richard Marquis were among the first Americans to study the traditional methods of Italian glassmakers. Chihuly's extravagant, colorful "Venetians" are a salute to Italian art deco of the 1920s. Richard Marquis is the American master of murrine - tiny designs incorporated along slender glass rods - as well as master of the use of zanfirico - filigree of glass threads embedded in blown glass vessels.

Paul Stankard continues a long tradition of botanical miniatures rendered in colored glass and encapsulated in hemispheres of clear glass. Alternatively, Ginny Ruffner, Michael Glancy, and Thomas Patti manipulate glass into uniquely modern sculptural representations. Ruffner' s characteristic use of Martians refers to her own feelings of alienation after being disabled in a car accident. Patti fuses layers of commercial and industrial glass to create elegant abstract forms. Glancy sandblasts designs onto the thick walls of blown glass vessels, then partially electroplates them with gleaming metal.

Cappy Thompson, Susan Stinsmuehlin-Amend, and Therman Statom use glass as their canvas. Thompson paints colorful narratives on the clear blown glass vessel. Stinsmuehlin-Amend and Statom use both paint and found objects to add dimensionality to their works.

American Glass was organized and curated by Lloyd E. Herman, a leading authority on the contemporary crafts movement in the United States and founding director of the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian' s national crafts museum. American Glass is circulated by SITES and was originally organized under the auspices of the U.S. Information Agency. The Springfield showing of the exhibition is funded in part by a generous gift from D.J. St. Germain Co., Inc.

A catalogue, American Glass: Masters of the Art/The Artists and their Work, accompanies the exhibition and contains an essay by Herman, biographies of the artists, and full-color reproductions of each piece in the exhibition.


rev. 8/24/10

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