Exhibit celebrates 50 years of studio glass art

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum is hosting the exhibition “North Carolina Glass 2012: In Celebration of 50 Years of Studio Glass in America” through February 1.

Twenty glass artists are showcased in the exhibit including Richard Ritter, Harvey Littleton, Marc Peiser, Rob Stephan, and the featured visiting artist, Fritz Dreisbach.

"1960s VW Microbus” by Fritz Dreisbach, Oct 29, 2012. Photo by Jenna Englert

On October 29, Dreisbach performed a glassblowing demonstration at the Dillsboro Green Energy Park in honor of the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement, of which he is considered one of the fathers. He created a piece before onlookers’ eyes entitled “1960s VW Microbus.”

The piece is a literal interpretation of the real thing, very different from most of the other works in the gallery.

“The microbus was supposed to be reminiscent of a real VW bus, signifying the ’60s and when we started the Glass Movement,” said Dreisbach.

Blown and hot-worked glass. Photo by Max Liljequist.

“The 1960s VW Microbus caught my eye because I’m a car enthusiast,” said Max Liljequist, a senior at WCU. “I was interested by the characteristic feature, like the big bumpers and pinstripe.”

The simplicity and childish style of the microbus contrasts with the other works in the gallery. The sole similarity of the art in this exhibition is the glass medium.

"Mount" by Marc Peiser, 2012. Hot cast phase separation glass. Photo by Max Liljequist.

This piece by Marc Peiser, entitled “Mount,” is striking. It is hard to fathom how someone could make something like this out of glass.

The texture of the sculpture radiates a feeling of calm and the cool colors evoke tranquility. This piece would emit a different feeling if it were bright red.

"Mount" detail. Photo by Max Liljequist.

The slow curves are unintimidating and relaxing, while the delicate use of straight line and corner gives the piece subtle structure, reminiscent of architecture. The slow transitions to the other colors and matte transparency are abrasive and pleasing to the eye.

"Spectral Reflections" by Robert Stephan. Photo by Max Liljequist.

“Spectral Reflections” by Robert Stephan, although at first glance seeming like a misplaced snowglobe left in a gallery, merits a second look. The glass sphere’s internal angular sections reflect pieces of the room, the color amplified and significantly brightened by the light passing through.

One simply cannot take in this whole piece at one time, because it looks completely different from every angle. It is truly beautiful, elegant in its complexity, like a snowflake.

Stephan has two other pieces on the same pedestal, “Crystal Revelations” and “FAA.”

"Crystal Revelations" by Robert Stephan. Photo by Max Liljequist.

"FAA" by Robert Stephan. Photo by Max Liljequist.

“North Carolina Glass 2012” will be featured in WCU’s Fine Art Museum through February 1. The gallery is free and open to the public. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and closed on weekends.


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Glassblowing artist Fritz Dreisbach visits WCU