Clayton On Art: Four shows at the Museum of Glass

By Alec Clayton on February 26, 2013


I've been neglecting the Museum of Glass lately. Shame on me. MOG is one of the Northwest's premiere art museums and it has not one, not two, not three, but four new shows that I have not seen or reviewed.

"Northwest Artists Collect" has been open since mid-January. This exhibition focuses on seven Northwest glass artists, showing not only their own works but pieces by other artists whose work they collect, including glass and non-glass art. If I unserstand correctly, each of the seven chosen artists  -  Martin Blank, Joseph Gregory Rossano, Richard Royal, Ginny Ruffner, Preston Singletary, Cappy Thompson and Dick Weiss  -  is showing one of their own works alongside works by artists in their collections, offering a unique glimpse into their inspirations.

The curatorial process for this show was also unique. It was curated by students from UW Tacoma and museum staff who visited the artists' studios to make their selections. Included in the exhibition are video clips of the studio visits and first-hand accounts from the students, offering visitors an indication of the curatorial process of designing and planning. A gallery guide created by the interns is also available. The show runs through October.

"Mosaic Arts International 2013" opened Jan. 26. It is a juried show organized by the Society of American Mosaic Artists. There are 50 individual works, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, that incorporate materials varying from ceramic and glass to rusted metal, petrified wood and dinosaur bones. This show runs through May 5.

"BENJAMIN MOORE: TRANSLUCENT": Benjamin Moore (American, born 1952), Palla Series, 2012, blown glass, photo courtesy of the artist

"Benjamin Moore: Translucent" opened Feb. 16 and runs through October. A native Washingtonian, Moore is associated with Pilchuck and the glass art movement that made Seattle and Tacoma famous for its glass art. He has studied in Murano, Italy as well as with Pilchuck and the Rhode Island School of Design and is considered one of America's best glass artists.

"... my work has always been about clarity and simplicity, I would like to present a very simple and minimal exhibition that will showcase my career's aesthetic: simplicity of form," states Moore.

Finally, "Outgrowth: Highlights from the Museum's Collections" displays the variety of conceptually-oriented sculptural glass in the Museum's collections. With the long-standing effort to include artists from outside the studio glass movement combined with nearly 50 years of academic fine arts glass programs, this period of rapid growth encouraged many offshoots to grow out from an initial rhizome (root system).

"Although technique remains vital, "Outgrowth" demonstrates a concerted effort to create work that is rich in content, appealing to an audience beyond the tradition of studio glass," comments curator David Francis. "This exhibition allows us to showcase applications of glass as a medium that our visitors may find surprising - something that is key to the Museum's mission." The show will be on view until April 21.