SOFA Chicago In Sight!

The world-renowned art fair dedicated to Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art & Design (SOFA) returns to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. Many artists are working on the last bits of work to be shown at the exhibit that runs from November 7-9 2014, with a preview on the evening of November 6, 2014. 

Celebrating its 21st year, SOFA CHICAGO is the longest continuously running, gallery-presented art fair in the city of Chicago, and one of the most successful in the country. Last year’s fair attracted 34,000 attendees from around the globe.

A number of Washington Glass School artists and alum will be shown at the art fair – Tim Tate will be at Habatat Galleries space, Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis will be showing at Maurine Littleton Gallery‘s space, and alum Jeff Zimmer will be one of Craft Scotland‘s collection that was designed to give audiences in Chicago the opportunity to see and buy some of the finest examples of ceramics, glass, wood, textiles, silver and jewelry being produced in Scotland today. Click on image below to see Craft Scotland’s video about their artists and works being showcased at this year’s fair.

jeff_zimmer.craft_scotland.sofa_chicago

Glass artist Jeff Zimmer describes his work being featured at Craft Scotland exhibit during SOFA Chicago 2014

Off To SOFA Chicago!

The works are all finished and packed – and on their way to Chicago’s Navy Pier for the huge arts fair: S.O.F.A. (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art)!

Michael Janis “When She Was There” detail, kilnformed glass, frit powder imagery

WGS’ Tim Tate will have his new glass/video works on exhibit at Habatat Galleries (space # 1100); Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart will both be featured at Maurine Littleton Gallery (space #403).

Allegra Marquart “Cow Over The Moon”, kilncast glass

Tim will also be part of a series of lectures and booth events. He will be part of the Saturday Nov 2 talk about developing new audiences, titled: “Through A Glass, Brightly 
He also will be giving a booth lecture at Habatat’s space titled “Video as the Next Craft Medium” on Saturday at 1:30 pm.

Tim Tate “Guardians of Nature”, Cast Glass, Video

Glass Secessionism will have a talk hosted by William Warmus and Tim Tate in Room 323, from 3-4pm on Saturday. Titled ‘The Gathering: Glass Landscape in the 21st Century’, it will be a round table discussion centered on Post-Studio Glass and Glass Secessionism. For more info – check out the Facebook event posting online HERE.

SOFA CHICAGO opens Thursday, October 31 and runs through Sunday, November 3, 2013 at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.

The Process: Setting Up A Show

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Set-up and takedown of a big art fair is a daunting task – and not all glitterati, paparazzi and Illuminati. Although visitors to the large shows only experience the special exhibitions and lectures, a lot goes on before and after the show. SOFA CHICAGOreturned to Chicago’s Navy Pier in early November, 2012, and the WGS artists participating in the exhibit (Tim Tate, Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart) uploaded photos of the process. Much of the process shown below is centered around the Maurine Littleton Gallery space.

Driving the work for Washington’ DC’s Maurine Littleton Gallery to Chicagois artist Drew Graham. Besides being a mixed media artist, Drew works for the gallery, and is one of its featured artists.

 Navy Pier – jutting out into Lake Michigan has the central exhibition space ready for the exhibitors to set-up. The gallery team arrives early in the morning to begin the set-up.

Drew Graham pulls up the truck inside the event hall, and prepares to start unloading.

Glass artists John Littleton and Kate Vogel are already in the hall and begin to transport the artwork down to the booth space.

Gallery owner Maurine Littleton reviews the booth space and the layout of the walls and electrical. The design of the space and the location of each work was planned weeks previous to arrival in Chicago, with lighting and electrical planned in advance. Some artwork was already delivered to the space. It turned out that some of the walls needed to be re-positioned, and artwork installation worked around those areas. Items such as pedestals, tools, chairs, special lighting, storage shelving, printer, artwork brochures/info, signage, etc and all the necessary components had been packed onto the truck and now must be unpacked and sorted.

John Littleton at work uncrating artwork and preparing the display of many of the works in the booth.

Other galleries are installing artwork – here, Heller Gallery installs Norman Mooney’s cast glass stars. 

Each glass artwork piece is unboxed and carefully installed.

The set-up time is a great time to catch up with other artist friends – Laura Donefer and Tim Tate share a hug.

The Littleton Gallery space is shaping up, pedestals are placed for the Harvey Littleton sculptures.

 The main aisle is busy with galleries preparing their booths.

SOFA Chicago is an international show, here Craft Scotland sets up their display.

The lighting is adjusted on the works, and the packing cleared. Kate Vogel checks for items that need adjustment before the fair opens. Time to shower and change into opening night attire.

Navy Pier just before the opening night gala, the quiet before the storm.

The Opening Night Premier begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Lino Tagliapietra is one of the glass greats that cut the opening ceremony ribbon.

The opening night is one to see and be seen. Very posh.

With the opening night premier over, the art expo is open to the public, who fill the hall.

The lectures and demos begin. Corning Museum has a mobile hot-shop that has a number of artists showing.

The art expo offers a great mix of art in all forms of media. For a Flickr gallery of SOFA glass works – click HERE.  For a link to local PBS television video segment on the art at the show – click HERE 

Christina Bothwell mixed media work at Habatat Galleries.

Miriam Di Fiore’s beautiful landscape sculpture.

John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s incredibly detailed cast sculptures.


The SOFA Art Fair ended on the Sunday night at 6:00 pm. With the announcement on the p.a. system that SOFA 2012 has ended, the lights go up and the public leaves the space. The reverse process of de-installation begins. Out come the boxes and crates.


Drew Graham takes a break from packing.

Martin Janecky’s blown glass sculptures in repose.

The unglamourous side of an art expo takes place when one has the least amount of energy. Coffee and energy drinks are needed.

The art expo provides the final meal for the show – Connie’s pizza.


With the show back in the truck and on its way back to Washington, DC, planning for the opening of the Washington Craft Show moves up the list of tasks to be completed. And after, shows at Art Miami/Art Basel. 

Area Artists Exhibit at SOFA Chicago 2012

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Gateway artists and their work will be amongst crowds at the international  art show SOFA CHICAGO, the annual arts expo devoted to Sculpture Objects and Functional Art (SOFA). Celebrating its 19th year, SOFA CHICAGO is one of the world's foremost contemporary art fairs, featuring nearly 70 art galleries and dealers from 10 countries along with special exhibits by renowned museums, universities and arts organizations, and an extensive lecture series.

Gateway Arts Featured at the SOFA include:

"Unhemmed" Ani Kasten, ceramic, reclaimed wood,  plaster, photo by anythingphoto.net

Ceramic artist Ani Kasten will have her work at Massachusetts’ Lacoste Gallery space (#508). Ani’s ceramic and mixed media work takes their influence from nature as well as the nature of change. 

"Skyline", Ani Kasten, ceramic, reclaimed wood, plaster, photo by anythingphoto.net

Infused with a modern, minimal aesthetic, her - amazingly structured and unstructured at the same time - work references the built world as well as reminding one of a natural or ancient object exposed to the rigors of time.

Glass Artists Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis are both featured at Georgetown’s Maurine Littleton Gallery space (#408).

"Gecko Gets Told" Allegra Marquart, sandcarved fused glass and enamel, photo by anythingphoto.net

Allegra Marquarts’ colorful artwork delights in storytelling and mines fables and fairy tale for both content and imagery. Allegra sandcarves the panels of glass she fuses at the Washington Glass School, working on both sides of the glass slabs, playing with the translucent quality of the medium.

3 separate works - "Flying in Place", "Lessons Learned and Unlearned", "The Optimism of Language", Michael Janis, fused glass imagery, silver and steel, photo by anythingphoto.net

Michael Janis’ glass sculpture works are also at Maurine Littleton Gallery space His new works show how perceptions are based on perspective, where the mirrored glass cylinders refigure the distorted glass frit images into new shapes. 

"Flying in Place" Michael Janis, photo by anythingphoto.net

Both Allegra and Michael work from the Washington Glass School, located in Mount Rainier, MD. 

"21st Century Dadaism", Tim Tate, cast glass, video, electronics, photo by anythingphoto.net
detail "21st Century Dadaism", Tim Tate

Another Washington Glass School artist – Tim Tate – is featured at Michigan’s Habatat Galleries space (#1100). Tim’s incredible mixed media works exploit the beauty of glass and invests it with a narrative that takes the work to a new level. One work – “21st Century Dadaism” incorporates video projection onto cast glass components, with the effect of producing a disembodied human face, created from the disjointed. If Dadaism had occurred today, it might have resembled this. 

"Vegetable Peddler And Her Son", Tim Tate, cast and blown glass, photo by anythingphoto.net

His other sculpture works, from a series he calls his “Cabinet of Curiosities”, incorporate cast glass elements made from the “lost wax” process are a delight in creating surreal worlds. This is a breakout year for Tim, whose work is currently on exhibit at Mesa, Arizona’s Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Tim Tate in front of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, AZ.

SOFA Chicago 2012 - Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4; Preview Thursday, Nov 1.

For more info - visit the SOFA Chicago website

SOFA Chicago at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL

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.

SOFA Chicago Opens Nov 3

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SOFA Chicago @ Navy Pier

The 18th Annual Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair, SOFA CHICAGO 2011, enjoys the prestigious position of being the largest and longest continually running international gallery-based art fair in Chicago. SOFA CHICAGO 2011 runs at Navy Pier Nov. 4 – Nov. 6. The SOFA CHICAGO and Intuit Show’s joint Opening Night Preview on Thursday, Nov. 3.

SOFA features more than 60 international art galleries and dealers presenting museum-quality art and design. SOFA galleries bridge a wide range of cultures, art movements and historical periods.

Our Tim Tate, Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis are representing in the Windy City.

Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis will be shown at Maurine Littleton Gallery – space #720


Maurine Littleton Gallery at SOFA Chicago 2010

Tim Tate will be featured at Jane Sauer Gallery – space # 307.
Tim’s new work features a new video & glass and a non-video series.


Tim Tate
The Silent Ode

blown & cast glass, original video, electronics

Below is the video that is incorporated into the artwork – where the singer is silently performing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” – which is how Beethoven would have experienced the song – as he became deaf. The cast glass hands are the words to the song in sign language.

Untitled from Tim Tate on Vimeo.

Allegra Marquart’s Narrative Glass

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Allegra Marquart
The Deer, Mouse, Crow & Turtle
kilncast and sand carved glass 18.5″ x18.5″

Since 1976 Allegra Marquart has been a professor at Maryland Institute College of Art teaching printmaking. Allegra’s imagery continues to gain in visual complexity. Her narrative glass panels started using fables that were familiar to those who know Aesop, La Fontaine and old English rhymes, but now her stories include ones written by Kipling, Edward Lear and ones handed down through generations of American Indians. If you ask Allegra what she does she might say that she makes people stand still, think and smile. Each of these stories are enhanced with a personal drawing style and processes Allegra loves for both making etchings on paper and in the fabrication of glass panels. Allegra’s work is full of invention, humor and pain.


Allegra Marquart
The Blue Jackal
kilncast and sand carved glass 18.5″ x18.5″


From Allegra’s artist statement:

“For the over a decade my etchings have grown from my observations of city life, human foibles and old fables. About 6 years ago I experienced a kind of epiphany. My images needed to be made of glass! The glass would act as a metaphor for the transparency, fragility, strength, permanence and reflective power in all the moments I was describing. I imagined these pictures in low relief made of glass that would refer to stone carvings on columns and friezes that people in ancient times used to describe their daily life.

Allegra Marquart
The Elephant’s Trunk
kilncast and sand carved glass 18.5″ x18.5″


So sure was I of this revelation that I went to work immediately. I began with sand blasting deeply into the glass to create my first body of work in this medium that was so new to me. A class at Pilchuck with Paul Marioni taught me how sand casting could give my images even greater physicality and drama. Work at The Corning Studio and The Washington Glass School (in DC) expanded my casting experience.

Allegra is part of the faculty at the Washington Glass School, and she creates the multi-colored glass panels in the studio’s large kilns. Firing color atop color, Allegra creates a basis on which to deep sand carve her visual narratives.

Below is a glimpse into the steps she uses in the creation of the fantastic panels:

Allegra spreads out crushed colored glass (coarse frit) on top of a glass panel that has already been fired with a different color.

Prepping the kiln for another long panel to be loaded for fusing.


After the panel is fired, annealed and cooled, Allegra covers the glass with a thick vinyl resist.

Allegra transfers and draws her imagery onto the resist, later cutting away the elements to be exposed to a deep sand blast session.


The panel is then carved with a force fed media (deep sand blasted) that cuts through the various color layers of glass.
Allegra will repeat the process on both the front and back of a panel, allowing the mix of light and color to work with her imagery.


The SOFA Chicago Art Expo will feature Allegra’s work at Maurine Littleton Gallery‘ space (#720).

Click HERE to jump to Allegra Marquart’s website.

Washington Glass School Goes to SOFA Chicago

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SOFA Chicago at Navy Pier

S.O.F.A. Chicago 2010
Chicago’s historic Navy Pier is THE place to be for art from Nov. 5 – Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010. Chicago’s much-anticipated art fair, the 17th Annual International Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair: SOFA CHICAGO 2010 will feature 80 art galleries and dealers from 10 countries. It promises to be an exciting weekend of discovery and collecting for Chicago’s impassioned art audience and for the crowd of national and international attendees. WGS’ Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart will be featured at Maurine Littleton Gallery’s booth (#720), and Tim Tate will be have a major showcase with Marc Petrovic at Habatat Galleries’ space (#1200).

SOFA Chicago Navy Pier Festival Hall 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611


Allegra Marquart The Fox and The Crow


Tim Tate The Seven Waking Dreams Of Man



Michael Janis Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (detail)

SOFA Chicago Preview Oct 2nd

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Join the James Renwick Alliance members for a sneak peek of work made for the upcoming international shows SOFA Chicago and Art Basel Miami by glass artists Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers and collaborative work by Tim Tate and Marc Petrovic: Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Waking Dreams. * Just added * click HERE to jump to American Craft Magazine article on Tim & Marc's work.

Marc Petrovic & Tim Tate The Seven Deadly Sins

The adjacent Flux Studios is also hosting a preview showing of work by its renown artists.

SOFA CHICAGO 2010 PREVIEW

WASHINGTON, D.C., ARTISTS

Washington Glass Studio

AND

Flux Studios Artists New Work

Saturday, October 2, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Flux Studios

Fall Preview

Works of Novie Trump, Laurel Lukaszewski, Jessica Beels and Judit Varga.

3700 Otis Street Mt. Rainier, MD 20712

202-744-8222- Washington Glass Studios - 703-346-5284-Flux Studios

Working in the Studio – Tim Tate

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Seasonal Changes by Tim Tate
photography by
Anything Photographic

Glass-meister Tim Tate is working on some new series for SOFA Chicago in November. Here is a sneak peak at some of the works he is completing.
Tim’s series “Seasonal Changes” incorporates cast and blown glass, electronics and videos. Mr Tate has been working non-stop on work for this and a number of other major shows – keep posted for pics of some of his other projects as they complete!

Spring Awakening
Blown and Cast Glass, Electronics, Video
18 x 7 x 7
Inside are cast glass sprouting crocus bulbs. On the top finial is a bouquet of cast glass flowers. The video is a time lapse of flowers opening and closing.

Autumn Transformations
Blown and Cast Glass, Electronics, Video
18 x 8 x 8
Inside are cast chrysanthemums, top finials is covered in dozens of cast glass acorns. Video is of ripe grain in a soft wind.


Autumn Transformations (detail)
Blown and Cast Glass, Electronics, Video
18 x 8 x 8


Winter Warmth
Blown and Cast Glass, Electronics, Video
18 x 8 x 8
Inside are cast glass snowflakes and pine cones. The finial is of holly surrounding a teapot. The video is a city scape of rooftops with snow falling.

Summer Dreamin’
Blown and Cast Glass, Electronics, Video
18 x 8 x 8
Inside are stacks of watering cans. Video is of light reflecting off a swimming pool


Summer Dreamin’ (detail)
Blown and Cast Glass, Electronics, Video
18 x 8 x 8