The inventive — and often-surprising — work by 18 artists is featured in a juried exhibit at Glass Axis.
All utilize, or make reference to, the medium of glass, but the similarities end there.
Each piece reveals unique, sometimes-unlikely influences, which are detailed in statements by the artists on accompanying cards.
Hence, the exhibit title: “This Leads to That.”
Michael Pereira’s “House by Lake,” for example, counts a Wassily Kandinsky painting as a source of inspiration. With imprecise smudges of color standing in for elements in a landscape, the fused-glass piece calls to mind Kandinsky.
And Ashley Smithkey’s “Tom” presents a pinkish vase with woundlike gashes across its surface; the piece seems intended to suggest the impermanence of the body.
Tom Hawk of Hawk Galleries collaborated with Glass Axis executive director Rex Brown in selecting the pieces.
“I think that the overall idea was just to sort of expand the dialogue of contemporary glass,” Hawk said, adding that the goal was to “take a snapshot in time of a variety of different artists exploring the medium, exploring their unique voices and sort of celebrating their creativity.”
The works are no less impressive when viewed without considering artists’ stated intentions; many speak clearly on their own.
Doug Moreland’s “Painful To Look At” invokes religious iconography, presenting a length of shaped neon positioned on a cross. The piece is both striking and disturbing, and the neon itself is as eye-straining as the title implies.
Brianna Barron’s elaborate and evocative “Through a Glass Darkly” is bordered by an ornate frame, with an orblike object at its center.
More cheerful is Alex Fresch’s “Bird of Paradise,” which depicts a translucent glass cage with a handle on top; inside, behind a door ajar, are the stems of two plants sprouting bright flowers.
Lisa Wagner’s “Gary’s Tree,” in stained glass, resembles a cubist collage. A large tree in the foreground frames a forest in the background; angular shards of yellow, red and orange indicate leaves affixed to trees and those that have fallen to the ground.
Perhaps the most creative use of glass is found in Michael Walker’s “Optic Twist Study #7,” an oil on canvas in which glass nonetheless dominates: The painting depicts an elegant glass vase — on the left side of which a warm yellow light is cast — with no other objects visible.
In its imagination and diversity, the exhibit offers a strong primer on art rendered in glass.
Said Hawk, “It’s a great introduction to the material and what can be done with it.”