To promote the appreciation and development of the glass arts, and to support the community of artists who work with glass, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art will feature four glass artists in the gallery during the month of April. Featured artists include Mary Shaffer, Michael Petry, Matthew Szosz, and guest artist, Alex Fekete in collaboration with New Mexico Glass Alliance. On Saturday, April 14 at 2:00 pm Alex Fekete will give a presentation about his glass sculpture with a reception to follow. The gallery is located at 435 South Guadalupe Street, across from the rail station.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mary Shaffer’s fascination with light is the most enduring of all her concerns. She first began making glass sculpture in the early 1970s in order to capture the look of light coming through paned windows or the wavy surface of curtains. The Light-Catcher series conveys the appearance of undulating light. The glass sculptures are supported by solid metal symbols on which glass panels balance, often on edge and away from the wall. Light is caught in the bowl of the glass and moves through it, creating patterns on the wall. At times the physical matter almost disappears, leaving only the cast shadows. Shaffer says, “I like the essence of things.”
Mary Shaffer is recognized as one of the founding artists of the American Studio Glass Movement. She studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1960s. In the 1970s, she developed a unique technique adapted from the auto industry, which she calls “mid-air slumping.” It allows her to use gravity to soften plate glass into a form, which she often combines with metal tools. Her sculptures range in scale from small objects to room-size installations and public works. She creates pieces from slumped glass, bronze, found objects, stone, light, fire, fiber-optics, sound, and performance. Her work has been exhibited throughout the globe and has received many honors. Her works can found in such esteemed collections as The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), Museum of Decorative Arts (Lausanne), Stadt Museum (Berlin), U.S. Chancellery (La Paz), and Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence).
Mary will be exhibiting new works titled The Colored Line Friday May 25 through June 22, 2012. An opening reception will be held Friday, May 25 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.
Michael Petry is an installation-based conceptual artist who draws inspiration from art history, mythology, and contemporary culture. While Petry is not traditionally associated with the studio glass movement, his creative sensibilities are stimulated by the medium of glass in monumental works. Unlike studio glass artists, Petry does not actually create his individual art objects, but seeks out highly skilled crafts people with whom he collaborates to animate his conceptual ideas.
Petry has a one man show, The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum from March 17 - July 29 this year (http://www.psmuseum.org/index.php). His new book, The Art of Not Making, the new artist artisan relationship published in hardback by Thames & Hudson in April 2011 has now globally sold out and a paperback edition will be available from February 6, 2012 (http://www.thamesandhudson.com/9780500290262.html).
Matthew Szosz’s glass work is created by employing ready-made material, most often common window glass, as a tool for the investigation of material behavior. It is heated to a point of flexibility, subjected to acute force, and quickly solidified. The resulting forms are created partly by manipulation, and partly by the physical response of the glass to stresses placed on it. In this way, the works are partnerships between the glass and artist - a carefully planned and assembled experiment is prepared, and then submitted to physics for sudden, violent, often unpredicted results.
In collaboration with New Mexico Glass Alliance, guest artist Alex Fekete was born and raised in Czechoslovakia. He moved to the United States in 1992 to attend the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign on the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. He earned his M.F.A. from the University in 1994 and went on to become an assistant professor in the industrial design department. Alex spent over a decade teaching at the university level.
Fekete creates tall, sleek, graceful vessels in clear colorless glass, but the glassblowing phase is only the beginning process. After the form cools it is shaped and sculpted in the cold shop using grinding tools. He removes a great deal of the original form creating vessels with as much negative space as form. The abstract shapes are then sand blasted to achieve a frosty surface. This is an elaborate process which can take over 100 hours to complete. In his sculpture striated areas evoke the geological aspects of landscape and the use of small stones act as an organic counterpoint to the spare, contemporary lines of the sculpture. The resulting body of work is extremely dramatic and beautifully composed.