‘Modern Alchemy: The Art of Glass’ Opens at SVAC

‘Modern Alchemy: The Art of Glass’ Opens at SVAC

‘Modern Alchemy: The Art of Glass’ Opens at SVAC

David Leppla’s ‘Asteroidea’ is one of the pieces on view in the Southern Vermont Art Center’s ‘Modern Alchemy’ exhibit, opening May 21.

David Leppla’s ‘Asteroidea’ is one of the pieces on view in the Southern Vermont Art Center’s ‘Modern Alchemy’ exhibit, opening May 21.

‘Modern Alchemy: The Art of Glass’ opens on Saturday, May 21, at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, located off West Road in Manchester. Works by members of the Vermont Glass Guild will be on display until July 10.

The variety of techniques used to produce works in glass is well represented, including blown glass, kiln-formed, torch worked and stained glass. Glass is made by melting together silica, soda ash and lime at high temperatures. Other materials are added for color. The ancient Greeks developed the technique of pouring warm liquid glass over molds to create tableware. During the first century, glass-blowing revolutionized the industry; within 100 years glass was widely available. In the Middle Ages, it was reserved for churches and the very wealthy, and remained so until the 19th century when technology allowed for mass production. A growing interest in craftsmanship led to glass production as a modern art form. At the 1878 Paris Exhibition, French artist Emile Galle introduced the Art Nouveau style, which lent itself the fluidity of glass, inspiring Louis Comfort Tiffany. Both were leaders in the Arts and Crafts movement and early practitioners in the studio glass movement, with its emphasis on the artist and designer. Members of the Vermont Glass Guild share a strong sense of community. Artist, sculptor and designer Robert DuGrenier left New York City in the late 1990s to set up his studio and business in Townshend. His works range from original glass chandeliers and displays for large  spaces to small delicate pieces that create novel interactions with the natural world of plants and animals. In their studio the hills of southern Vermont just outside Brattleboro, Josh and Marta Bernbaum produce richly colored glassware using the molten glass technique. Chris Sherwin began his life’s work as a glass maker in 1993 as an apprentice with Simon Pearce, where he became a journeyman glassblower and team leader. A move to California led to his working at Orient and Flume Art Glass, an internationally-renowned glass studio known for its iridescent vases, intricate paperweights and torchwork designs. Karen Deets moved to Fair Haven to pursue her love of glass after 30 years as a craft gallery owner. She is proficient in  the ancient technique of fired glass painting, with the rich shading and detail seen in traditional church windows, and modern kiln fusing, which allows color without heavy outline.

SVAC is located off West Road in Manchester. For details, visit svac.org or call 802-362-1405.

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