Soul Searching: Awakening to the Facinating World of Contemporary Glass Art

Glass geeks are keenly aware of the fact that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Studio Glass movement, whose humble origins I wrote about in my Holy Toledo post.   Much to the delight of glass fans, this milestone has brought glass into the spotlight and inspired hundreds of glass demonstrations, lectures and exhibitions in museums, galleries, art centers, universities, art organizations, festivals and other venues across the United States.

Well, be still my heart! This summer couldn’t have been a more fortuitous time to discover a lovely group of extreme glass enthusiasts like Midwest Contemporary Glass Art Group (MCGAG) whose mission is to recognize, support, encourage, promote and educate everything to do with art made from glass in connection with Collectors, Artists, Galleries, and Museums.  I became aware of MCGAG after visiting The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass website and encourage other glass enthusiasts to investigate the offerings in your region. Though this group is comprised primarily of collectors, they have been a very warm and welcoming group despite the fact I am more of a collector at heart.

Into the Light: Illinois Glass, tour and talk with William Carlson, Rockford Art Museum 8/18/2012

Despite my busy Mom schedule, I managed to attend a couple of MCGAG’s mind bogglingly COOL glass field trips. My season of soul searching has been marked by spending any spare time I can muster, marveling at what I see established glass artists achieving in their work. I joined MCGAG on a trip to the Rockford Art Museum for the “Into the Light: Illinois Glass” exhibit (which just ended on 10/21) with special guest host, William Carlson (who resembles Chihuly without the eye patch…lol).  What a pleasure it was to hear him share his insights and observations as we toured the exhibit. To be completely honest,  it’s difficult to say exactly how much of what he was saying really “stuck” in my wee brain, as I was a little awe struck as I surveyed the collection of amazing works from Illinois glass artists including Carlson’s wonderful work.

I did walk away with some nuggets of wisdom and a deep appreciation for the great strides glass art has taken in the last 50 years. As my awareness and understanding of the whole contemporary glass art world expands, it just gets me more and more riled up to move forward with my own glass experiments, however they may pale in comparison to the masters! It’s still so inspiring to see their hard work up close and meet, in the case of Mr. Carlson, the intriguing, deep thinking artist behind the work.

I definitely intend to write about the other really memorable field trip to a little gem of a place called the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum next blog post. But for right now, my eyes are zeroed in on this Saturday, November 3rd, when some glass friends and I plan to attend SOFA Chicago 2012. This will be my first time there and I am trying my best to contain my excitement! For more information visit the SOFA website or click here:  Studio+Glass+50th+Anniversary for more juicy details. I’m looking forward to seeing this piece by Mark Peiser in person!

Mark Peiser
Passage #1, 2012
hot cast phase separated glass
and granite base
24 7/8 X 8 5/8 X 23 1/4 in.
Wexler Gallery

It is interesting to note that, Saturday November 3, 2012 has officially been proclaimed to be CONTEMPORARY GLASS ART DAY in the state of Illinois. I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate that fact than to head out to SOFA, wide eyed and wonder struck, and see first hand just how far glass has come in the last 50 years.

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