Report From SOFA Chicago

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Finally had a chance to catch my breath from a rushed viewing of the 18th Annual Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair (SOFA) held at Chicago’s Navy Pier!.
This year’s SOFA Chicago
featured more than 60 international art galleries and dealers presenting museum-quality artworks and design, as well as lecture and tour series.
SOFA CHICAGO 2011 highlights included:

Maurine Littleton Gallery
The Washington, DC gallery showcased the newest works by WGS artists Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart alongside some of the “glass superstar legends” like Harvey Littleton, Therman Statom and Ginny Ruffner.


Works shown include Colin Reed, John Littleton, Kate Vogel, Harvey Littleton, Michael Janis, Therman Staom, Allegra Marquart, Ginny Ruffner and Drew Storm Graham.


Allegra Marquart’s new narrative sandcarved glass panels (L) and Drew Storm Graham’s wood assemblages (R).


John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s cast glass artwork.

Michael Janis’ painterly fused glass artwork

Jane Sauer Gallery
The Santa Fe gallery had a strong mix of artists in a variety of media.

Tim Tate’s delicious new works – cast glass sweets! Tim also featured framed hand-colored prints of his imagery.


Tim Tate’s video reliquaries are always a show favorite.

Hawk Gallery
The Cincinnati gallery had a stunning solo show of cast glass work by Bertil Vallien.


A stunning cross-section of Bertil’s works.

Bertil’s ladle cast glass encases beautiful imagery.

Bullseye Gallery
The Portland, OR based gallery featured the new directions kilnformed glass is heading.


April Surgent’s cameo-etched work.

Silvia Levensen’s fun sculpture and fused glass panels.

Catherine Newell’s new fused glass panels.

Heller Gallery
Always a must-see, the New York gallery had some instant favorites.


Susan Taylor Glasgow’s “Communal Nest” -a large-scale assemblage consisting of glass twigs, real branches, a chair and a glass pillow. The work was built with help from the community and from artists around the world, all of whom contributed glass twigs to this “collective” nest. But despite these and other it-takes-a-village aspects — Susan’s work ultimately suggests a rather ironic view of home.

Susan Taylor Glasgow’s visions of domestic bliss.
Steffan Dam’s glass recalls scientific analysis.

Marc Petrovic’s roll-up process and stunning technique and aesthetic continues to amaze and impress.

Beth Lipman’s table of fish.

Duane Reed Gallery
The St Louis gallery featured some glass beauties.


Kari Russell Pool’s beautiful flameworked sculptures.


Cassandra Blackmore’s abstract glass panels.

Some works that also caught our eye:


Janis Miltenberger’s flamework sculpture at Thomas Riley Galleries.

Australia’s Beaver Gallery showed Jeremy Lepisto’s crate series.

Wexler Gallery showed how the simplicity of Sydney Cash’s work plays with the light.

Blue Rain showed the fun and beautiful work by Rik Allen. Here a glass spaceman floats amongst the glass.


The annual show was a great time to see the best of media-based artwork and meet some of the artists I’ve only read about.
Many thanks to Betty Py for the photos – for more of her images of glass art shown at SOFA – CLICK HERE to jump to the Flickr site she set up for Washington Glass School.

Michael Janis’ Solo Exhibition @ Fuller Craft Museum

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Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts

Founded as a traditional fine arts museum and cultural center, over the past four decades the Fuller Craft Museum has transformed itself into a collection devoted entirely to crafts, one of only eight such museums in the US.
New England’s only museum of contemporary craft presents A Lighter Hand: The Glass Drawings of Michael Janis, on display Aug. 6 – Nov. 6, 2011.


One of the new works Michael has made for the exhibition is a site-specific sculpture that measures 8′-0″ and will be installed in floor to ceiling window of the exhibition space.


Michael Janis Unpredictable Factors
3′-0″W x 8′-0″H x 4″
fused glass, glass powder imagery, steel

Michael Janis Unpredictable Factors (detail)
3′-0″W x 8′-0″H x 4″
fused glass, glass powder imagery, steel

From the Fuller Craft Museum press release:

,,,”Janis’ work is the result of a laborious and challenging process. Similar to sgraffito, where a design is scratched through a colored ground revealing another color beneath; to produce the image Janis sifts black glass powder onto sheet glass, scraping away the powder to produce the detail. The image is suspended between layers of sheet glass and fired in a kiln to fuse the constituent pieces together. In this manner any number of images can be combined to produce complex juxtapositions. The result is a collage produced entirely in glass, built from a time-consuming process allowing for an extended contemplation of his subjects.
Building on the legacy of Surrealist artists of the early 20th century, in particular Giorgio de Chirico whose paintings juxtaposed disparate objects in moody and indistinct landscapes, Janis is able to construct a contemplative feeling from the layering of seemingly inanimate objects and ambiguous characters. His images in glass, particularly those examples in a tall and narrow format, also allude to the narrative quality of stained glass.
The juxtaposition of text, symbols, and figures seem to imply a hidden message or meaning, but like an ink blot or word association Janis leaves the viewer to provide their own conclusions.
Janis lives and works in Washington, DC, where he is Co-Director and an instructor at the Washington Glass School. He first began working with glass as an architect, evident in his dedication to sheet glass and the precision draftsmanship in his drawings.

Fuller Craft will celebrate the opening of A Lighter Hand, with a public reception August 7 at 2 p.m. at the Museum. The reception is free for members and free with museum admission for all others.”
A lecture by Michael Janis precedes the public reception – click HERE for more information.

The Fuller Museum is located at 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301