Thursday, February 10, 2011
Toledo Museum of Art acquires glass sculptures by two leading artists
“Both of these sculptures are made in a clear or white palette, and both are composite sculptures, assembled of many smaller intricate elements,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy. “These monochromatic objects distill their creators’ artistic intents and sensitivities to glass as the chosen medium.”
Gasch-Muche has experimented with different materials throughout her career and has worked primarily with broken liquid crystal display (LCD) glass since 1998. She believes that every material, regardless of whether it is naturally or industrially produced, has its own inherent structure and texture waiting to be given form. She was attracted to shattered LCD glass because it is thin, strong and can be arranged in different ways to reflect and scatter light.
“I did not discover glass, it discovered me,” Gasch-Muche said, “and it opened up the possibility of painting with light.”
TMA’s newly acquired Pyramid seems to change its appearance depending on the viewer’s position and perspective. The texture of the glass fragments, mounted on a metal form, may at one moment appear to be velvety and silky, yet in the next moment, light refracts in the sharp edges of the glass and creates a riotous and flashing image.
“This is a finished work of art made up of ‘unfinished’ glass fragments,” said Jutta Page, TMA’s curator of glass and decorative arts. “Each of the fragments has a different shape and a different story, and yet in joining them together this sculpture comes to life.”
Gasch-Muche is represented in numerous international public collections, such as the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg; the Glasmuseum Hentrich/Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf; the Museum for Applied Art in Frankfurt, Germany; the Musée Mudac in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Musée-Atelier du Verre in Sars-Poteries, France. Her awards include the prestigious Coburg Glass Prize (2006) and the Bavarian State Prize (2008).
Laura Donefer is a multi-talented artist who blows, casts and torch-works glass into intricate assemblages. Much of her recent work is a study of ancient baskets with handles; in the glass versions the handles are adorned with flameworked beads, as well as natural shells and fibers.
Blizzard Amulet Basket relies on transparent and opaque white hues. Donefer’s inspiration came from experimenting with her signature basket form in the middle of an Ontario blizzard. The vessel portion of the work captures the tonalities of an icy Canadian lake with its frozen layers. Thick, vertically stacked drips of colorless glass resembling snow drifts buttress the piece on either side, while opaque white trails on the front and back recall the spiraling motion of a snow storm. Opaque white glass frit enhances the glacial relief of the basket’s form, while the handle is shaped with flameworked drops and spikes that evoke icicles.
According to Page, “Laura Donefer combines both flameworking and blowing techniques in her vessels, which give her work a very strong personal ‘voice.’”
An exuberant artist, Donefer views glass as a metaphor for life.
“It can be totally transparent and reveal what is inside, or opaque to hide, or translucent, mysterious, by giving mere glimpses of what might be,” Donefer said. “It can be sharp and truly wound, or luscious with life.”
Donefer is an American-born artist who now lives in Harrowsmith, Ontario. In 2010 she was the fourth artist to be invited to participate in TMA’s prestigious Glass Artist Pavilion Project (GAPP) as an artist in residence. Her glass and mixed media compositions can be found in many public and private collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Tacoma Museum of Glass, and the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan.