Washington Post on Renwick Craft Invitational

>The Post arts critic Michael O’Sullivan has a very insightful review of the Renwick Craft Invitational.

Of the work shown by Judith Schaecter, Michael writes: “… I stood at that midpoint for several minutes, listening to the reaction of random visitors as they crossed the unseen threshold.

“Now this is disturbing” was a typical comment. “It’s a nightmare” was another. Both statements, I would like to believe, were intended as compliments.

The artwork inspiring such strong sentiments is by Schaechter, whose postmodern twist on the stained-glass window has more in common with comic books — albeit darkly subversive, R-rated ones — than ecclesiastical decoration.

Death, arson and lust are just a few of the themes of Schaechter’s bold and striking, if ambiguously narrative, works. Mounted in softly luminous lightboxes, Schaechter’s pictures transform the part of the Renwick where they’re hung into a church of the weird and wonderful. They’re easily the most powerful, and disturbing, things in the show…”

Click here to read the full review.

The Craft Invitational exhibition (March 25 thru July 31, 2011) features works by four extraordinary artists, who are creating works of superior craftsmanship that address the classic craft notion of function without sacrificing a contemporary aesthetic:

  • Cliff Lee (b. 1951), a former neurosurgeon who works in Stevens, Pennsylvania, creates elegant porcelain vessels with the exactitude of a doctor, often using his knowledge of chemistry to re-create medieval Chinese glazes long thought lost to history.
  • Matthias Pliessnig (b. 1978), a furniture maker in Philadelphia, uses boat-building techniques in new ways to create graceful forms with curved wood strips that may have up to 5,000 points of contact without the aid of hardware.
  • Judith Schaechter (b. 1961), a glass artist based in Philadelphia, brings a wealth of knowledge about traditional stained-glass practice to her moody windows.
  • Ubaldo Vitali (b. 1944), a fourth-generation silversmith and master conservator of historic silver working in Maplewood, New Jersey, uses classical techniques he learned in Rome to create luminous works for popes, kings, and presidents.

The Renwick Craft Invitational is a biennial exhibition series established in 2000 to honor the creativity and talent of craft artists working today.

Karen LaMonte @ Smithsonian

>Last night was the dinner with artist Karen LaMonte and talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her artwork “Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery” was just acquired by the museum. She talked of her work and process to make this haunting and striking cast glass sculpture – the work is so technically complex that it can only be crafted at Lhotsky‘s studio in the Czech Repbulic, one of the largest and most advanced centers for glass casting. It was a fascinating and fun night in the museum’s galleries!

Renwick curator Nicholas Bell on the Tim Tate aquisition

>Nicholas Bell, curator of the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, said the recent acquisition of a multi-media work by Washington Glass School director Tim Tate represented a big step for an institution dedicated to showcasing one-of-a-kind handmade pieces because it includes an industrially made video screen as one of several elements.
“To accession an object that includes mass-manufactured technology is huge for us,” Bell told the Hot Sheet in a telephone interview. “It allows us to take the conversation about how craft interacts with a digital society to a new level as people get to experience Oracle in our gallery.”


Tim Tate, Oracle, 2009. Blown and cast glass, electronics, original video. H 16, W 8, D 8 in.
photo: Anything Photographic

For the full story- click on this link to The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet.