Not Your Grandma's Glassware

Artsy Editors
Jul 10, 2013 10:29PM

Glassmaking, once considered a craft outside the realm of fine art has undergone a terrific transformation at the hands of today’s glassworkers. These four contemporary artists are experimenting with unique glassmaking techniques and expanding the boundaries of glass art.

Michael Glancy’s incredibly intricate vases and trays are based on his great fascination with the infinitesimal and infinite elements of the natural world. Looking through the microscope or toward the skies for inspiration, Glancy chooses to focus on such topics as molecular physics, radiation and astronomical theory. His process is just as informed by his scientific inclinations. Glancy uses a method called electroforming to fuse glass and metal into his elegant creations. The alchemy-reminiscent technique runs a high voltage charge through the materials, combining them together. Each piece is then intricately detailed and finished by hand.

Laura de Santillana is a Venetian born into a family of glassworkers. Her organic and luminous glassworks recall the color field canvases of Mark Rothko. Santillana Uses a sophisticated Italian technique called incalmo in which blown glass is collapsed in on itself to form a flat plate. The pockets of air that Santillana leaves trapped within her works add to the hazy quality of their colors.

Frantisek Vizner carves his smoothed and polished forms from blocks of cast glass. Vizner’s minimalist works, which epitomize hand-crafted perfection, probe the distinction between functional and nonfunctional design. Vizner toys with everyday functional objects like the vase or the bowl by abstracting their forms to the point of total formal clarity. The finalized pieces of offer the distinctive glow of cast glass. Whether or not they still perform their original function is up to debate.

Toots Zynsky developed a completely unique glassworking method to mold her flowing organic vases. Starting by combining glass threads to render her wonderfully vibrant gradients, the strands are then heat fused and while still maleable the artist works them by hand. The sensitivity of Zynsky’s touch is apparent in the undulating forms of her vases.

Artsy Editors