Archetypal symbols are a powerful touch point between artist and viewer. When an artist explores a theme that has been significant throughout the ages and cultures, her work has a dialogue with a broad group of viewers and taps into a deep place in the human psyche.
For glass artist Shelley Muzylowski Allen, that symbol is the horse: utilitarian, mystical, powerful, and gentle, depicted throughout time, from different perspectives, and in a variety of media. For Allen, it is important that her art not only reflect her own experiences, but that it inspire an emotional connection for the viewer. Her menagerie of exquisite horses, safari animals, and magical creatures is indeed inspirational. Blending her glass-blowing and carving ability in shaping the form with her painterly use of color, gesture, and brushwork in decorating it results in meticulously crafted, expressively poised, and lusciously adorned sculptures.
Indigo Gazelle Dagger (detail)
Recent work like Indigo Gazelle Dagger reflects the netsuke tradition, the gazelle functioning like a finial on top of a vessel. The dagger shape of the vessel may refer to the fact that the rare red gazelle, hunted for its fine pelt, was rendered extinct in the late-19th century. The obsidian dagger base celebrates form and contour, while the perched gazelle connects emotionally with the viewer. Earthly grace is embodied in its elegantly bowed neck while divine power is expressed in the iconographic decoration. Rich colors are layered into the glass with powders as Allen works. Often, after the piece is cooled, she will drill small holes to add other elements or draw on the glass with a fine diamond bit to enhance the design.
View online catalog to read more….
There is candidness and rawness in Allen’s animals, derivative of the creative process itself which Allen describes as rhythmic in a way that parallels the rhythms of life and intuitive in a way that only glass allows. Her inclusion of natural elements like horse hair, quart, and rocks she finds on her walks lends itself to this organic feeling. Wild Blue (2015) embodies the essence of the physical animal, its bucking posture visceral and instinctual. But, his vivid coloration takes him beyond representation to an otherworldly place of magic, mythology, and the sacred. As with all her work, Allen has skillfully positioned the viewer at the precipice of the earthly and the heavenly, where we are invited to consider both simultaneously.
By the Bull
Catalog Essay by Jim Schantz
“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that arts were invented; Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.” ~ Robert Henri, “The Art Spirit“
New Britain Museum Exhibition
In the early part of the 20th century, Robert Henri helped define the American vision of freedom, spontaneity and experimentation in art. Contemporary Glass: 21st Century Innovations at the New Britain Museum of American Art pays significant homage to the spirit of experimentation in the medium of glass, celebrating the American Studio Glass Movement as well as the international influence and exchange from Italy, Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden. Europe has long had a glass tradition. In Italy there is Venini and Barovier; in France there is Daum; in Sweden, Kosta Boda, and in Ireland, Waterford. But since the latter half of the 20th century, the United States has been at the forefront of glass as a fine art. The Studio Glass Movement spread quickly from America to Europe and the United Kingdom, Australia, and more recently, Asia. It is distinguished not only by freedom and experimentation with the medium, but by open sharing of technical knowledge and ideas among artists—both of which have contributed to its growth. Through the history of the Studio Glass Movement, one discovers that the associations that have made glass so vital can be traced back to those who brought glass to the forefront as an art form—artists who formed the glass programs at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., as well as schools focused specifically in the medium of glass like The Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, The Pittsburgh Glass Center, The Studio of The Corning Museum and the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, NJ. Today, through these and many other educational programs, the lineage in the glass community continues to flourish. The Beginning of American Studio Glass: The idea of glass as art was broadened by the arts and crafts movement in England and art nouveau in France in the late 19th century. It was led by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the United States and Emile Gallé in France. Works in glass were primarily produced in a commercial setting. In the 1950s and 1960s, notable artists like Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti and Pablo Picasso were invited to create designs for the venerable Venini factory, however the artistic design process was separated from the glassmaking itself. The development of glass as an art medium, where the art was produced in a studio instead of a factory, began in the United States just over 50 years ago when University of Wisconsin, Madison professor Harvey Littleton and chemist Dominick Labino conducted workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art’s School of Design. Littleton and Labino were the first to demonstrate that molten glass is feasible for artists to create using a small scale furnace. The artist and the glass technician could be one in the same. Littleton went on to create the first glass program at University of Wisconsin. Among the first students in his Master’s program were Marvin Lipofsky, Dale Chihuly, and Bill Boysen, and it was here that these artists would first learn about experimentation and collaboration in the act of glass making. Harvey Littleton would go on to teach some of the most important contemporary glass artists, such as David Huchthausen and Christopher Ries, who also graduated from the program. Both Huchthausen and Ries are today among the most important artists using cold-working techniques to produce their glass sculpture.
- Marvin Lipofsky, Chico Group 4
In the late 1960s Marvin Lipofsky founded the glass program University of California at Berkeley and the California College of Arts and Crafts,(CCAC), which he headed for two decades. Lipofsky was one of the first American glass artists to travel to Czechoslovakia, where a studio glass movement had arisen in the 1950s. This would prove to be the first of many of Lipofsky’s exchanges with artists and glass studios throughout the world. His work has been largely focused on the exploration of organic form in a free form gestural approach. In 1969, Dale Chihuly initiated the glass program at Rhode Island School of Design, (RISD) and Bill Boysen later built the first glass studio at Penland School of Crafts in NC.
The Influence of Chihuly:
- Dale Chihuly, Silvered Venetian with Saturn Orange Flowers
In 1968, Dale Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright grant to study glassblowing at the Venini factory on the island of Murano in Venice. Chihuly was the first American to have the opportunity to study the masters of the factory. It profoundly affected Chihuly’s ideas about glassblowing, while at the same time Chihuly introduced the Venetian glassblowers to the idea of glassblowing as an artistic process. In 1969, Chihuly traveled to Germany to meet Erwin Eisch, whose family had a glass factory in Frauenau. Eisch was also encouraging experimentation with glass among the artisans. Chihuly continued on to Prague to meet Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, who were leading an artistic movement in glass in communist Czechoslovakia. At RISD, Chihuly befriended another artist, Italo Scanga, an Italian-born multi-media artist with whom he subsequently collaborated on many projects. Chihuly’s early students at RISD included James Carpenter, and Toots Zynsky. These artists went on to join Chihuly at a new summer program in the hills of Stanwood, Washington called Pilchuck. Chihuly had imagined a school in the woods of his native Pacific Northwest that could be devoted to glass. It was at Pilchuck that the momentum for Seattle’s glass movement really began, and the European artists Chihuly had met in the late 1960s such as Eisch, Libenský and Brychtová would become major contributors to its educational program. Forty years later, Pilchuck Glass School is established as an international center for training and new ideas in glass. Dale Chihuly and Marvin Lipofsky continued to play seminal roles in raising awareness of studio glass throughout the world and successfully took glassblowing in experimental and innovative directions. Focusing on the execution of artistic ideas in glass, they searched for ways to go beyond glass’ traditional associations with functionality by exploring sculptural forms. While American studio glass began with a free-form and expressionistic approach, by the late-1970s this was no longer sufficient to drive the field forward. American Studio glassmaking had reached a crossroads, and one by one, artists followed Chihuly and Lipofsky’s lead to study abroad and seek the expertise of Swedish, Czechoslovakia, and especially Italian glassmakers in order to better harness its technical capabilities in the service of artistic expression.
- Benjamin Moore, Exterior Fold Series
The European Influence:
Benjamin Moore was introduced to glass at the California College of Arts and Crafts while studying under Marvin Lipofsky. In 1974 he became Dale Chihuly’s first assistant and from 1974-1987 was Pilchuck Glass School’s Creative and Educational director. After receiving his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, Moore began an apprenticeship at the Venini factory in Murano with Maestro Checco Ongaro. In the summer of 1978, Moore invited Ongaro to teach a two week workshop at Pilchuck Glass School. The following year Ongaro recommended his brother-in-law, Lino Tagliapietra, an equally accomplished maestro. Tagliapietra believed that if glassmaking at its highest level was to survive, it must expand beyond the island of Murano.
- Lino Tagliapietra, Dinosaur
At age 45, Lino Tagliapietra made his first trip to Seattle and on to Pilchuck during the summer of 1979. Tagliapietra generously shared what he knew with artists in the United States and subsequently throughout the world. During his more than 30 years of teaching, he has instilled a demand for excellence, a work ethic, and a love of the medium that has changed and elevated the glass art movement forever. Tagliapietra’s career is defined by a dedication to workmanship, innovation, and collaboration. Born in 1934 on the renowned glass-blowing island of Murano, Italy, Tagliapietra began his apprenticeship at age 11 with Muranese master Archimede Seguso from whom Tagliapietra achieved the status of Maestro Vetraio by the age of 21. For over forty-two years, Lino worked in various for-profit Murano factories including Vetreria Galliano Ferro, Venini & Co., and finally as the Artistic and Technical Director of Effetre International (1976-1989). Tagliapietra has exhibited 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. Defying criticism from the community back home, Tagliapietra never stopped sharing his knowledge. But the giving was not a one-way street; Tagliapietra benefited equally from the young artists that he taught and with whom he collaborated. After years of factory production work, Tagliapietra came face-to-face with new ways of regarding the material and with individuals who considered it a medium for art. They were blowing glass for the sheer joy and challenge of it.
- Richard Marquis,Dustpan
Richard Marquis studied both ceramics and glass at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1969, he received a year-long Fulbright Scholarship to study the making of art glass at the Venini Glass factory in Murano, Italy and was among the first Americans ever to work in a Venetian glass factory. His modern glass creations tend towards the humorous, and often incorporate other materials. Marquis has had an extraordinary influence on the development of contemporary studio glass in America and around the world. The effect of Venetian glassblowing techniques on American studio glass enabled glass artists to expand their technical vocabularies and, combined with new and experimental approaches, led to the redefinition of glass as an artistic medium.
- Vladimira Klumpar, Origami in Topaz
Other great European influences on contemporary glass come from the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) and Sweden. The artist Stanislav Libenský had a profound effect on generations of artists through his teaching at the Academy of Applied Art. Vladimira Klumparova was born in the Czech Republic in 1954 and began her studies at the Specialized School of Glassmaking High School in Železný Brod. She completed her studies nearly a decade later at the renowned Academy under the tutorship of the renowned Professor. Libenský and his collaborator, Jaroslava Brychtová brought new technical advances in casting. Klumparova has continued Libenský’s legacy of creating formalist monumental cast glass sculpture.
- Bertil Vallien, Book of Rules
In addition to Libenský and Brychtova, Bertil Vallien has been the major force from Sweden in the medium of cast glass. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Vallien developed ground-breaking methods for sand casting in glass and has been a principal designer for Orrfors Kosta Boda. Another European who greatly affected American glass is Eric Hilton. After finishing his studies at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, he eventually moved to the United States in the early 1970s to teach at the glass program at Alfred University. He was a designer at Steuben Glass for over 30 years. Hilton helped redefine the cut and cast glass art form.
Other Early Contributors:
- Dan Dailey, Sunsetting, photo: Bill Truslow
The exhibition at the New Britain Museum of American Art bears witness to Tagliapietra, Chihuly and Lipofsky not only as pioneers of the Studio Glass Movement in the United States but as legacies who have influenced generations of artists working with glass. Other early contributors to Studio Glass Movement and the Pilchuck program include Dan Dailey, Richard Marquis, Dante Marioni, Paul Marioni, and Benjamin Moore. Dan Dailey became Chihuly’s first graduate student at Rhode Island School of Design. Along with other students, Dailey assisted in building the RISD glass studio and began to develop concepts for illuminated sculpture. In 1972 Dailey received a Fulbright Fellowship and was invited by Ludovico Diaz di Santillana, the director and owner of the Venini Factory in Murano, to work as an independent artist/designer. This industrial experience became a model for Dailey’s future work in several glass factories later in his career. In 1973, Dailey founded the glass program at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. The influence of the first generation of the Art Glass Movement has gained a great deal of momentum throughout the past four decades. The advances that have been made with the glass medium are represented in this exhibition in three primary areas of approach: Blown Glass, Cast Glass and Cold Working, (Cut and Laminated). Blown Glass:
Dante Marioni,, Leaf Vase
Beginning in 1979, Dante Marioni spent summers at Pilchuck Glass School where his father Paul Marioni taught. Marioni learned his glassblowing skills from Lino Tagliapietra, Benjamin Moore, and Richard Marquis. His work integrates classical Greek and Italian form with modernism. Although Marioni grew up in Mill Valley, California and Seattle, he has embraced the traditions of Italian glassblowing from his mentor Lino Tagliapietra. Richard Royal, also from Seattle, has been a faculty member of Pilchuck Glass School. He has pushed the limits of large scale blown glass sculpture for the past twenty five years. Richard was the first Artist in Residence at the Waterford Crystal Factory in Waterford, Ireland in 1998 and 1999. Artist Debora Moore also developed her unique approach and technique while at Pilchuck Glass School. By combining her innovative approaches with traditional glassblowing, her wall reliefs and installations have helped define blown sculptural glass installations.
- Martin Blank, Thirsting,
- John Kiley, Intersected Vertical Overlap
Martin Blank graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, worked for Dale Chihuly for eleven years, and was instrumental in working on Chihuly Over Venice. Blank also trained at Pilchuck School and subsequently developed his own methods for sculpting monumental forms in blown glass. John Kiley grew up in Seattle and began his professional career at the age of 19 at The Glass Eye Studio. During his early 20’s, he had the opportunity to work in Finland, Ireland, Mexico and Italy as part of the Chihuly Over Venice team. He was a principal member of Lino Tagliapietra’s team until 2011 when he became the Glass Director at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA.
Stephen Rolphe Powell, Sassy Frazzled Flirt
Stephen Rolfe Powell has worked closely with Lino Tagliapietra throughout the past twenty years. Powell founded the glass program at Centre College in Kentucky and has been instrumental in developing a wide range of blown glass applications employing Italian cane techniques.
Richard Jolley, Suspended in Dreams
Richard Jolley’s work represents the expressive glass sculpting techniques that grew out of the Penland School, led by artist Richard Ritter, a descendant of North Carolina artist Harvey Littleton. Recently, Jolley has recently made major advances with large-scale sculpture that employs both glass and steel. Artists continue to combine approaches to hot glass techniques. Another notable artist, José Chardiet has continued to experiment with a variety of processes in combination with blown glass. Chardiet trained at Kent State with artist Henry Halem.
Daniel Clayman, Three Volumes
Daniel Clayman’s cast glass sculpture combines the formalism of the Czech tradition with new technologies in casting methods. Clayman was a student of the glass program at Rhode Island School of Design and has been at the forefront of utilizing three dimensional printing to create his sculpture. Latchezar Boyadjiev was born in Bulgaria and is also a graduate of the prestigious program at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague with Stanislav Libenský. Peter Bremers, a graduate of the University of Fine Arts in the Netherlands, has been greatly influenced by Czech contemporary glass and is at the forefront of casting and cutting glass to create sculptural forms. Thomas Scoon combines cast glass and stone to create his unique and monumental, sculptural work. He is a graduate of the program at Massachusetts College of Art and has taught at the Pilchuck School.
Cut and Laminated Glass:
Jon Kuhn, Clear to Blue Pendulum Cluster
For more than 30 years, Jon Kuhn and Sidney Hutter have been pioneers in the field of cut and laminated techniques. Both artists have made great advances with laminating complex forms to create intricate patterns of refracted light. This synthesis of art and engineering grew out of the technical advances made in the 1970s and 1980s. Kuhn originally studied ceramic art and received his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. His early work incorporated the use of organic glass forms before developing his intricate geometric approach to his sculpture.
Sidney Hutter, PPGV
Hutter was a graduate of the program at Illinois State’s glass program and also Massachusetts College of Art led by Dan Dailey. Another artist using cut and laminated glass techniques is Linda MacNeil. Her work employs innovative approaches to the wearable art form while drawing upon historical references. Also notable in laminated work are New England artists K. William LeQuier and Martin Rosol. LeQuier, a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, began his career with blown glass. He eventually developed intricate cold-working methods to create his delicate cut pieces using industrial plate glass. Martin Rosol came to the United States in 1988 to pursue his career as a sculptor, a path unavailable to him in communist Czechoslovakia. He has led the way in perfecting cut and laminated approaches to redefine sculptural approaches to the glass medium.
- Lequier, Curl number 6
The Tradition Continues and Evolves:
With the addition of the next generation of emerging artists such as Nancy Callan, Beth Lipman, Ethan Stern and David Walters, Contemporary Glass: 21st Century Innovations at the New Britain Museum of American Art celebrates the evolution of contemporary glass by several generations. Certainly there are other important and talented artists that could be included with this group. The glass art movement continues to push forward with new innovation and ideas as we enter the 21st century. This drive to develop the medium technically and artistically has spawned a movement united by artists who have a strong connection to the material and to the sharing of ideas. We see a lineage within the movement which can be traced to those who brought the medium to the forefront. It has been a remarkable journey thus far and we look forward to seeing where it will bring the art form. We thank these artists for their contribution, their energy, and their dedication to the fascinating material that unites them.
Jim Schantz ~ 2014
Eric Hilton, Search for Life (detail)
Ethan Stern, Ripples
David Walters, Into the Fire
Richard Royal, Ruby Velvet
David Huchthausen, Eclipse, 2011
Debora Moore, Pink Lady Slipper
Nancy Callan, Storm Stinger
Peter Bremers, Ice Fire
Martin Rosol, WIng
Summer has been very very busy here in Stockbridge. It has been a fantastic season in the Berkshires, much of it is due to the great concerts at Tanglewood. Last nights celebration of John Williams 80th birthday included shoutouts from Obama, Clinton, Osawa, Jessye Norman, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and players from the Red Sox! (Now, we hope they will all come to the gallery to see some amazing art!)
One quote from John Williams I liked is this: “Music is not really a job, it’s something that the more you practice in it and work in it, the more you can learn and the more interesting it becomes, and I’m just engaged by that every day, as I have been since I was a very young person. It’s been famously said that music is enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not enough for music, there’s simply too much to learn. My activities are the result of my good fortune of being working in a field that you become more in love with as you go along through the years.”
I believe that all or the artists we represent feel similarly about their creative process. It is a blessing to have good health and the ability to pursue your passion, whether it is creating art, music, a family, or an environment that brings harmony.
We hope you can take some time to visit the gallery and find joy and inspiration. You may like to know that we have close to 50o works of art available… Below are some examples of new works received since July.
Quote from interview with Jane Levere