Glass Alliance of Northern California Lecture, October 28, 2017

Lecture at the Glass Alliance of Northern California.

The Glass Alliance of Northern California (GLANC) is a non-profit organization that promotes the advancement of the glass arts in Northern California. GLANC's goal is to provide useful information to artists, collectors and students and promote glass art events in the Bay Area.

Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 1:00pm 

Bullseye Glass
4514 Hollis Street
Emeryville, California

Symmetry Breaking Exhibition, Art Gym, Marylhurst University

The Art Gym presents Symmetry Breaking, featuring eight contemporary visual artists from the Pacific Northwest: Emily Counts, Jovencio de la Paz, Jo Hamilton, Anya Kivarkis, Brenda Mallory, Kristen Miller, Emily Nachison, and Jane Schiffhauer. This exhibition, curated by Blake Shell, showcases the work of artists who engage or intersect with craft materials or processes. An opening reception will be held from 4-6 pm on October 1, 2017. An accompanying catalog, designed by Sibley House, will be released on December 10, 2017.

Since 1980, the Art Gym has been recognized as a venue that exhibits some of the most significant and timely art of this region. The mission of the gallery is to increase public understanding of the contemporary art of the Pacific Northwest through exhibitions, artists’ projects, publications, and public engagement. The Art Gym is a non-collecting, non-commercial gallery that supports artists in creating ambitious, risk-taking projects at key stages in their careers. As an art space working within an academic venue, we are dedicated to making knowledge accessible and committed to providing artistic and intellectual freedom. The Art Gym’s catalogs continue to be among the greatest records of Pacific Northwest contemporary art, contributing to the discourse on contemporary art and representing the region. 

Exhibition Dates: October 3 - December 10, 2017 (Closed Nov 10 - 11 and Nov 23 - 27)

Opening Reception: Oct 1, 2017 from 4-6pm

Catalog Release and Closing Event: Dec 10, 2017 from 4-6pm

Art Gym
Marylhurst University
17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy. 43)
Marylhurst, OR 97036-0261

Artist Lecture at Bullseye Projects September 23, 2017

Please join me at Bullseye Projects on Saturday, September 23rd. I will be giving a lecture on my recent body of work as part of the closing reception for the "Transformations" exhibition. "Transformations" explores personal, natural, and metaphysical change; featuring work by Ligia Bouton, Kate Clements, Emily Counts, Emily Nachison, and Judy Tuwaletstiwa. "Transformations" is on view June 21 - September 30.

Saturday, September 23 at 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Bullseye Projects
300 NW 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209 USA

Permeable Structure Exhibition Catalog on Issuu

The Permeable Structures exhibition catalog is now available to view on Issuu. The catalog documents the inaugural exhibition at the Byre, a new exhibition space located in northern Scotland. Permeable Structure brings together the work of Silvia Levenson, Emily Nachison, Michael Rogers, and Karlyn Sutherland. The exhibition draws from the landscape, deep history, and culture of Caithness, the northernmost county in Scotland. The catalog includes essays by: Tina Oldknow, retired senior curator of modern and contemporary glass at The Corning Museum of Glass (2000–2015); Lani McGregor, Director, Bullseye Projects and Partner, Bullseye Glass Co.; and Michael Endo, Curator, Bullseye Projects. 2017, perfect bound, 32 pages, color.

Transformations Exhibition, Bullseye Projects

Bullseye Projects presents a group exhibition exploring themes of personal, natural, and metaphysical change. Transformations will be on view June 21 – September 30, 2017 and will open in conjunction with BECon 2017, Bullseye Glass Company’s biennial conference. Transformations features the work of artists Ligia Bouton, Kate Clements, Emily Counts, Emily Nachison, and Judy Tuwaletstiwa

Mysterious in its creation, common in its application, and utopian in visions of the future, glass is rife with cultural, scientific, and metaphysical meaning. The glass we encounter is largely comprised of sand, soda ash, lime, and metallic oxides. These minerals are combined, melted and then cooled into a myriad of forms. The recipe is millennia old, but retains much of the magic that likely accompanied its first discovery. Sand is transformed into glass; it is a transformation that borders on the alchemical. A common material is made into something new with unique qualities that require a new category of matter: amorphous solid. Artists Ligia Bouton (New Mexico), Kate Clements (Pennsylvania), Emily Counts (Washington), Emily Nachison (Oregon), and Judy Tuwaletstiwa (New Mexico), approach glass from diverse perspectives, but it is transformation – be it through meditations on mortality, adolescence, fantasty, or the spiritual - that draws them to this material and connects their work.

Ligia Bouton’s Table Conversation (2016) is an excerpt from a larger installation entitled The Cage Went in Search of a Bird, which imagined a discussion between Franz Kafka and Emily Bronte, both of whom were diagnosed with turburculosis. A blown glass belljar, containing a cast glass face, is connected via rubber and glass tubing to a mask – mouth to mouth – in a form of reciprocal respiration. Bouton says that the works “…explore how the body reflects the climate of the soul or indeed how the soul might communicate with a body under siege.” Kate Clements similarly addresses bodily death. Kate Clements’ Beloved (2016) is comprised of a glass vivarium on painted legs holds discarded floral arrangements from funeral services. The decay of the cut bloom, a frequent symbol in Dutch “vanitas” paintings from the 18th century, is a dissolution mimicking the inevitable transformation of our own bodies.

In their recent work, Emily Counts and Emily Nachison are both exploring the idea of hidden stories, which are manifest through references to mythology, fantasy, the body, and occult symbolism. In Emily Counts’ Future Connect and Bind (2016), a bronze mound, embossed with inscrutable symbols, is connected via a jagged and irregular chain to a flesh-colored, dripping cone made of cast glass. To Counts, each material and individual element is a “marker of time” and an “aesthetic impulse.” Strung together they form a narrative that reflects her interest in “…connectivity and fluidity in biology, technology, and sexuality.” Similarly, Emily Nachison combines a variety of materials, drawing on their cultural and historic associations, in sculptures that touch on our desire to mythologize the world. In this new body of work, Nachison refers to adolescence, sexuality, and fantasy. Tween Dream (2017), a cast glass pony head, emblazoned with glass earrings common to 90’s mall piercing kiosks, speaks to desire and disappointment. Its companion piece Pony Girl (2017), a hanging sculpture of leather, thick rope, and cast glass, references a bridle while silmultaneously recalling bondage accoutrements. Together they mark a threshold between youth and adult fantasy.

In 2012, Judy Tuwaletstiwa began a residency at the Bullseye Glass Resource Center in Santa Fe. This was the beginning of a months long journey, mixing fine glass powders to create subtle color variations. These colors, lightly tack-fused into amorphous wafers, have become both paint and brushstroke in Tuwaletstiwa’s large abstract composition. 2 (ruah.old) (2016) is made of small black, red, and orange wafers attached in visually udulating groupings on a field of black stained stretched canvas, recalling reptile scales, stone, or smouldering embers. These associations play out throughout her works, which often refer back to the written word. In her 2016 book, Glass, Tuwaletstiwa explains that the body of work entitled ruah – Hebrew for wind, breath, spirit – are in reference to the 1989 Edmond Jabès book Das Buch der Fragen. “In [the book], Jabès questions God and man, seeking language to express the unspeakable in the face of the Holocaust.” The works are “…responses, not answers, to the silent question that Das Buch der Fragen asks.”

Bullseye Projects
300 NW 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209 USA

American Craft Council Lecture: Objects and Installations: The Work and Residencies of Emily Nachison, May 10, 2017

American Craft Council Library Salon Series Lecture Objects and Installations: The Work and Residencies of Emily Nachison

Through sculptural objects and installation, artist Emily Nachison investigates the use of story, symbols, and materiality to mythologize natural phenomena, escapism, and the desire for secret knowledge. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, Bullseye Projects invited her to participate in residencies at North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster, Scotland. Working in response to the unique landscape and architecture of Caithness, Scotland, Nachison created a series of projects for the Byre, a new Bullseye Projects exhibition space in Latheronwheel, Scotland. Nachison will discuss her recent residencies and exhibition.

The Library Salon Series is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Wednesday, May 10, 7:00pm, 2017

1224 Marshall St. NE, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Periphery: League of Women Designers Exhibition, Design Week Portland, April 2017

A curated exhibition by the League of Women Designers. Periphery is part of Design Week Portland. Design Week Portland is a week-long, city-wide series of programs exploring the process, craft, and practice of design across all disciplines.

Exhibition Dates: April 27th-30th, 2017

Olympic Mills Building, 107 SE Washington St, Portland, Oregon 97214

Participating Artists and Designers: Laura Allcorn, Leah K.S. Amick, Jennifer Cooke, Taryn Coward, Emi Day, Jennifer Freudenberger, Ali Gradisher, Lauren Hackett, Whitney Jordan, Abbie Miller, Emily Nachison, Marilee Sweeney, Sara Schmidt, Rena Simon, Chelsea Stephen

American Craft Council Announces 2017 Rare Craft Fellowship Award Finalists

The American Craft Council is excited to announce the finalists for the 2017 Rare Craft Fellowship Award in association with The Balvenie. For the last three years, the Rare Craft Fellowship Award has recognized and supported artists’ contributions to the maintenance and revival of traditional or rare crafts in America.

From a pool of qualified and talented makers, five artists were selected as finalists for the Rare Craft Fellowship Award by a panel of jurors. The American Craft Council is pleased to present the following artists:

  • Abir Ali and Andre Sandifer, furniture makers
  • Janice Arnold, textiles
  • Amara Hark-Weber, shoemaker
  • Sandra and Wence Martinez, painter and weaver 
  • Emily Nachison, glass and installation

Jury panel:

  • Anthony Bourdain, author, chef, and raconteur
  • Michael Radyk, ACC director of education
  • David Stewart, The Balvenie’s malt master
  • Jennifer Zwilling, curator of artistic programs, the Clay Studio, Philadelphia

For more information visit:

Flower Time at the Lillestreet Art Center in Chicago, Illinois

Flower Time, a public installation at Lillstreet Art Center Rooftop Project Space. 

This series of flags was inspired by Carolus Linnaeus’ horologium florae (floral clock) hypothesis. In 1751, Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish naturalist, hypothesized that flowers could be used to measure time by planting them in a 12-point radial formation based on when their species opened and closed. Carolus Linnaeus, (1707 – 1778) is often referred to as the Father of Taxonomy. Linnaeus was the first to frame principles for defining natural genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them. The flowers pictured on the flags in Flower Time are organized by the time of day in which they open. Flags will be on view November 1 - 30, 2016

Lillstreet Art Center

4401 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Photography by Nora Renick-Rinehart

Salt and the North Sea

A new project exploring salt collection and the North Sea. 
More information coming soon.

Art Ltd Magazine May/June Issue "New Directions in Glass"

New Directions in Glass by Sarah Margolis-Pineo

It is no secret that craft is making a comeback. From the 2014 Whitney Biennial to your neighborhood supermarket, the term craft is being used to spur critical discourse as well as fetishize consumable goods. Throughout the previous century, craft existed as a slippery, nebulous thing, lurking on the fringes of industry and Fine Art. But with the 21st century, craft has entered a new era of post-disciplinary, post-object practice, in which social activism, performance, DIY tactics, and new technologies are made tangible, and given new meaning, through materials and processes traditionally associated with craft. Despite this new conceptual underpinning, intense, media-specific training is required for proficiency in any craft.

Of all these distinct mediums, glass has garnered the least attention within the scope of contemporary art. We are accustomed to seeing innovative exhibitions of fiber and ceramics in museums and international art fairs, but surveys of contemporary glass are confined predictably to the work of Chihuly and his Venice-trained contemporaries. Further, jewelry, wood furniture, cloth-goods and clay are staples of the artisan marketplace. Once taken home, they give shape to our lives, becoming intimate acquaintances through daily use.

Glass, however, remains relegated to the pedestal and sideboard. Static and inaccessible, so much of what defines contemporary glass art has been inherited from the object-driven agenda of the studio craft movement. Twentieth-century glass separated itself from the applied arts and the avant garde by perpetuating a mystique of preciousness and aesthetic transcendence. This ideology continues to flourish in the insular institutions of art glass: the media-specific museums, galleries, and residencies that generate much of the discourse around glass-based work. We are taught to perceive glass as the product of a magical process—the perfect meeting of silica and fire, massaged to life by a spritely man in bright trousers and an eye patch. At a time when other craft-based disciplines were crossing-genres to collide with design and contemporary art, the dissemination of glass has remained resolutely apart. And so it has been, until now.

Contemporary glass is witnessing a call to action. The field has become both laboratory and playground to a cohort of emerging artists experimenting with the material and conceptual potential of the medium. There has been a move away from the object. Glassmakers are eschewing the pedestal in favor of installation, video, intervention, and performance. Many are taking on the idea of craft—the history, context, and process of glass itself—as the conceptual foundation of their work. Craft has become a tool to investigate and open up the field. It has the potential to promote alternate ways of perceiving and working with glass, rather than functioning as a discrete classification unto itself. Further, the relationship of glass to everyday life provides artists with a vehicle to look outside traditional disciplinary categories, to explore how other institutional frameworks—industry, environmental biology, physics, urbanism, etc.—can inform their practices. A perceptual shift is underway.

It's an exciting time to be working in glass.

This article features four glass artists based in the Pacific Northwest, who are expanding the boundaries and language of glass art in innovative ways. The first is Matthew Szösz, a recent transplant to Seattle from the Bay Area, whose manipulation of molten glass is poised between control and risk. Szösz's series of Inflatables is perhaps his most recognized body of work. Created by pumping compressed air into fused sheets of hot glass, the forms that emerge are surprising—pillowy tessellations, simultaneously buoyant and fixed.

The Inflatables series speaks to Szösz's interest in experimentation. Much of his work investigates the materiality of glass itself. He explores the medium's unforeseen potential through systematic tests as well as disorderly manipulation. As an artist, Szösz embraces chaos and accident. Failure is never an outcome if the end result of one's work is unknown. His series of Expandables, including the piece Clothesline (2012), proves failure and success to be blurred quantities within a truly experimental methodology. Presented on four-channel video, Clothesline documents Szösz in his studio heating strips of found glass windowpanes to fusing temperature—1600º. As the glass emerges from the kiln, it is hung on a mechanized clothesline to contract and crumble as it solidifies. The shards rain intermittently from the suspended installation, breaking loose and hitting the floor with a distinctive splintering sound.

Szösz is opening up the field of ephemeral glass. Seemingly a contradiction, Szösz's work proves that artists can move beyond the material confines of the media. This summer, he will be in residence at STARworks in North Carolina, and spending one month in Belgium as the recipient of the International Glass Prize. At both sites, Szösz will develop a project that brings together sound and glass, investigating the idea of the musical frequency as material.

Anna Mlasowsky similarly explores the relationship between material and the ephemeral. She is intrigued by invisible frequencies—resonances that are detected occasionally by the ears and skin as they pass through our bodies in waves. Her intent is to capture these invisible forces and, using glass, render it material. To achieve this, she embarks on multi-year research endeavors to develop new ways of incorporating sound into the production of glass. Often, her approach is cross-disciplinary, leveraging digital technology alongside traditional kiln-forming technique.

Sound Visions (2013) was an early piece within this body of work. Mlasowsky began by adding glass powder to water, manipulating it by hand to create a pattern of waves—like sand on an ocean floor. She preserved these vibrations by setting them on glass sheets that were fused in a kiln. What emerged were four white plates that ripple like lunar tide pools—simultaneously natural and extraordinary. Mlasowsky digitized each image using a 3D scanner, and assigned a corresponding sound to each iridescent wave. Ultimately, the glass sculptures were presented with an accompanying soundscape arranged by Thorsten Schepers. In her installation titled Resonance (2013), Mlasowsky took a different approach to exploring the aural potential of glass. After distilling the approximately 200-resonant frequencies within the audible range for a sheet of aluminum, she played each frequency through a speaker that was attached to the aluminum plate. By using glass powder that was later kiln-formed, she was able to create a solid shape—a dark, web-like screen—to embody each sound.

Currently, Mlasowsky is pursuing her MFA at the University of Washington. She recently received a Glass Art Society Technology Advancement Grant to research a new pate de verre technique that uses 3D modeling and rapid prototyping in lieu of traditional molds. This project, which has the potential to mark a huge technological shift in the field of glassmaking, will be featured in an exhibition opening July 1, 2015 at Bullseye Projects (Portland, OR).

Despite the lure of the digital, Andy Paiko is a glass artist who remains entirely enthralled by the technology of centuries past—the mechanical. Paiko is recognized for his flawless glassblowing technique in the tradition of Czech and Venetian artisans. What makes his work decidedly contemporary is not his medium, but the conceptual threads underlying his practice. Working alone in his Portland, Oregon studio, Paiko produces objects so tightly wound, their component parts lock together like the cogs of an intricate machine.

His recent piece, Pumpjack (2014), incorporates wood, brass, and leather into a composition of blown, sculpted, and cut clear glass. A miniature version of the monumental pump-jacks seen in the oil producing regions of the south and west, Paiko's sculpture inhales upward, and deflates back, glimmering with a sense of playfulness—a wholly theatrical thing. Like his earlier Spinning Wheel (2007), Pumpjack draws you in with its mesmerizing motion and keeps you enthralled by the imaginative potential of the medium. The sculptures modulate with routine whirs and thrusts that, like the capacity to work glass, point to human mastery over the natural world. Both real-life referent and sculptural representation signify the transformation of raw material. They operate simultaneously as mechanical mysteries and human-engineered marvels.

In addition to his kinetic instruments, Paiko also creates intricate chandlers, bell jars, and other sculptural works. From 2009-2013, he collaborated with sound artist Ethan Rose on Transference, a room-sized glass harmonica that hummed and sang on mechanized tones. Like the sound emitted by moistened finger on the rim of a wine glass, Paiko was able to generate a range of tones from the contact between a cloth hammer and the side of a rotating glass bowl. The overall affect was transcendent—like music emitting from light itself.

There will always be some sense of magic in the alchemical processes of working with glass. At once scientific and strange, this reconciliation of opposites is at the center of Emily Nachison's artistic practice. Trained in fiber, Nachison now works largely with kiln-formed glass. Her inspiration comes from diverse sources including New Age pseudo-spirituality, metallurgy, fairy tales, and Victorian decorative arts. She interweaves traces of narrative with suggestions of natural form to create large-scale installations that suggest a tangled wildness—a ghostly apparition of nature, rendered in delicate glass.

Nachison's recent exhibition at Bullseye Projects (Portland, OR), "Dark Ecologies," (on view at Bullseye Resource Center in New York, August 25 – November 14, 2015), featured new work integrating objects cast in glass with elemental materials such as leather, horsehair, and stainless steel. Garland (2014), Crystal Cord (2014), and Counting Cord (2014) are a trio of larger-than-life necklaces weighted down with heavy increments of branch-like forms. The translucent fragments are strung together like the beads of an abacus or the bones of a spinal cord—a very intentional appeal to our visceral senses that resonates with an uncanny perceptual shift.

Nachison forces her viewers to become aware of their embodied presence in the gallery—through the tactility of the works themselves, or as a result of one's close proximity to a material emblematic of fragility and preciousness. Her installation Metonic Transfiguration (2014), is comprised of a series of cast glass specimens hanging delicately in mid-air from pressed-glass plates. Through the work's narrative sequence, a crystalline fragment transforms into a branch, which evolves slowly into a mushroom, and then to a murky pool collected on the bottom of the plate. Based on the lifespan of the ink cap mushroom, this installation points to the glassmaking process itself—its alchemy, and its potential to transform raw, elemental earth into something beautiful, entirely unexpected, and a bit magical.

“Pump jack”,  Andy Paiko

“Pump jack”, Andy Paiko

" Metonic Transfiguration ", Emily Nachison

"Metonic Transfiguration", Emily Nachison

“Untitled(Inflatable) no.46p,”,  Matthew Szösz

“Untitled(Inflatable) no.46p,”, Matthew Szösz

" Resonance ",  Anna Mlasowsky

"Resonance", Anna Mlasowsky