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Under the Influence

CONTEMPORARY GLASS AT THE INAUGURAL SILICON VALLEY CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR

Schantz Galleries is pleased to bring work by five glass artists ~ Lino Tagliapietra, Dante Marioni, John Kiley, David Walters, and Giles Bettison ~ to the first annual Silicon Valley Contemporary Art Fair, April 10-13, 2014, reminding us that the intersection between technology and art precedes the digital age. Cutting edge science and innovative expression have long synthesized in the field of glass art. Each of these artists has mastered-then pushed the boundaries of-traditional techniques, achieving breathtaking advances in glass.

  the Maestro: Lino Tagliapietra

Lino Tagliapietra, Africa, 2013

Lino Tagliapietra, Africa, 2013, 10 x 19 x 19″

At age 80, Lino Tagliapietra is the Maestro of the group, a skillful creative spirit on a journey of discovery that began at age 11 years on the famous glass-making island of Murano, Italy.   

Glass artist Lino Tagliapietra is defined by superlatives: skillful, finessed, erudite, creative, sophisticated, yet open and humble. What continues to drive this consummate Maestro is not the accumulation of more laurels but the journey to continued discovery and inventiveness. From an especially early age, Tagliapietra sought to open his world to other traditions and understand art historical precedence, always with an intrinsic loyalty to his own patrimony. Within an aesthetic that is unmistakably Lino, is receptiveness to the visual tropes of varied artistic styles and inspiration from the natural and cultural wonders of the larger world.

Celebrating his 80th birthday this year, Lino Tagliapietra is one of the world’s most accomplished artists working with glass. Lino began his journey with glass at the age of 11 and has been an independent artist since 1989, exhibiting in museums around the globe, receiving countless honors, openly sharing his far-reaching knowledge of the medium and his skill as one of its finest practitioners, and helping to create a new renaissance in studio glassmaking.  As James Yood, adjunct professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and regular contributor to GLASS magazine wrote, “there are probably no two words more respected and honored in the history of modern sculpture in glass than ‘Lino Tagliapietra’; he is the living bridge, the crucial link between the august history of Venetian glass and the ceaseless wonders of what today we call the modern Studio Glass Movement”.

 Each of the other four artists exhibited has studied or worked with Tagliapietra. 

Dante Marioni: Classicism

Dante Marioni, Red and Yellow Mosaic,2013

Dante Marioni, Red and Yellow Mosaic, 2013, 31.5 x 13 x 3″

 Dante Marioni’s mosaic-like murrine vases build upon the ideal classical Greco-Roman forms, but also exhibit a sense of playfulness with exaggerated height and saturated colors.

Dante Marioni embodies the artist who strives for the ideal in his work. Dante’s forms achieve a balance between seriousness and exuberance. His pitchers, vases and bowls share a breathtaking classical symmetry and masterful technique, while their exaggerated height and saturated colors give them a sense of playfulness. Marioni has been greatly influenced by the Venetian Glass tradition which was itself a product of Roman and Greek form. Dante also grew up among many artistic influences. His father, Paul Marioni, was involved in the American studio glass movement and, as a result, Dante was constantly exposed to the glassblowing artists of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 1979, the Marioni family moved to Seattle and Dante began to study glassblowing at The Glass Eye. He spent summers at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington where his father taught. After graduating from high school, he started to pursue glassblowing as a career. Marioni learned the art of glassblowing from masters like Lino Tagliapietra, Benjamin Moore, and Richard Marquis. Subsequently, he has taught throughout the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Europe. Dante has expanded on his art of perfection with the quest for experimentation that grew out of the American Studio Glass Movement. His most recent Leaf Vases and Reticello Urns are examples of combining classic form with playful expression. There is no doubt that Dante has become a major contributor to the renaissance in American Glass as well as an influential force among his peers.

“I have never really been in love with all the obvious qualities of glass. I am more in love with the process and the traditions, age-old and of the contemporary studio variety. Form is always my primary concern; light manipulation and color are almost an afterthought. My influences range from a simple doorway on my furnace to a horizon on the North Sea from the Scottish Highlands. I continue to be enamored with nature, particularly as other people interpret it in the decorative arts.”~ Dante Marioni

John Kiley: Abstraction

John Kiley, Twisting Overlap, 2014 14 x 12 x 13"

John Kiley, Twisting Overlap, 2014 14 x 12 x 13″

John Kiley achieves a state of weightless balance with his elliptical forms, poised like dancers en pointe. Within the purity of modernism, Kiley fragments his sculptures and creates a tense interplay between positive and negative space.

John Kiley’s Sculptures are simultaneously elegant, sublime and challenging. The works balance precariously at an uncanny angle while the overlapping shapes create a sense of harmony. Using the design principle of negative/positive space, the artist gives the eye a “place to rest,” increasing the appeal of a composition through subtle means. Viewed from any angle, there is balance, tension, air and a sense of movement in the architectural space the work occupies.

One can view Kiley’s work as studies in architectural form. Utilizing the transparency of the glass medium, he creates spaces to explore that are visible both from the outside and the inside, allowing the viewer to enter from a variety of directions. While Kiley’s work gives reference to modernist sculpture which embraces the essence and purity of form, in the more recent works we see aspects of deconstructivism characterized by fragmentation. This kind of ease of interplay and dialog with his sculptural applications can only be achieved with great facility and technical expertise.

  David Walters: Narrative

Dave Walters, The Cost For Hot Water/Slow Boil, 2014 20 x 10"

Dave Walters, The Cost For Hot Water/Slow Boil, 2014 20 x 10″

David Walters’ intricate vessels are painted glass and enamel reminiscent of scrimshaw, telling stories that merge fairy tale and personal experience.

 

  Dave Walters work leans heavily on references from familiar stories and fairytales, though the work now injects more contemporary and current events in the telling to give them a more specific relevance while still trying to capture a sense of timelessness. There are clear relationships between Walter’s work and that of print makers like Albrecht Dürer or the more expressive William Blake, but two-dimensional work on vessels also has strong links to the tradition of Greek vase painters. Another significant influence seems to be early Christian or Byzantine painting and mosaics, in which the surviving Roman tradition has evolved into a powerful linear emotional expression.

The narrative of the work, is that there is a price for all the choices in our lives. “The culture of convenience we consign ourselves to often bring a greater cost than we allow ourselves to believe.  “It’s an effort to bring some consideration of that for myself as well. I think of my work as an effort to reevaluate or question the things I believe, or struggle with philosophically and in so doing relate to the viewer that struggle in myself and maybe in them as well, or at least stir some sense for the wonder of it all.”  ~ David Walters

  Giles Bettison: Evolving the Ancients

Giles Bettison, Vista, 2008

Giles Bettison, Vista, 2008

As a student, Australian Giles Bettison experimented with the murrine technique by using strips of American-made colored sheet glass instead of sliced cane, resulting in a softer and denser surface reminiscent of woven fabric and evocative of the light and color of rural Australia.

 Giles Bettison is a glass artist from Adelaide, SA, Australia. He has evolved the ancient Venetian technique called “Murrini” or mosaic glass to construct patterned sheets from colored glass canes.  Bettison cuts and combines these sheets to build intricate vessels piece by piece. His work is truly unique, combining old and new technology.

“My work is an exploration of my movement through life, expressed in colors, patterns and forms. The light and color in rural and outback Australia are part of my experience of connecting to place and people. I use abstract representations of these and other places to explore my feelings; I want to include some essence of what these places mean to me.” – Giles Bettison





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