September 15, 2013
OPENING: Michigan sculpture park exhibits the diversity of contemporary glass art
Glass Quarterly
Paulina Switniewska
September 2013

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, botanical garden known as Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will display the works of 25 artists from North America, Europe, and Asia in its upcoming group exhibition, “Shattered: Contemporary Sculpture in Glass,” which opens September 18th. The exhibit’s primary focus is the creative, conceptual, and formal aspects of contemporary glass sculpture from around the world, and it includes a line-up of some of the most interesting work being made in the material by artists such as Michael Behrens, Peter Bremers, Beverly Fishman (pictured above), Jiyong Lee, Beth Lipman, Mary Shaffer, and Anna Skibska.

The final lineup of artists selected for “Shattered” was selected by the Meijer Gallery’s curatorial team in collaboration with Royal Oaks’ based Habatat Gallery. The key objective in the selection process was to unravel traditional preconceptions of sculpture and glass art, effectively “blurring lines between genres” through the artists’ use of multifaceted processes and media in their work, according to a prepared release. Intentionally steering away from any forms of functionality, the Meijer Gallery ensures a visionary experience made powerful precisely due to its diversity.

Among the artists to be displayed in “Shattered” is the celebrated Anna Skibska, whose pioneering technique of flameworking glass rods into delicately intricate grids has been dubbed the “Skibska technique” in a recent article in GLASS (Summer 2013, GLASS #131) by Paul Stankard. Skibska, an artist whose roots lie in Communist Poland, has been greatly influenced by her architectural background (in addition to the lack of creativity she found within it), coupled with her childhood hobbies of creating art in the form of dioramas out of found materials, which included– among other things–broken glass. She will be exhibiting a work entitled Silva Rerum (Forest of Things), 2012-13

What truly makes her work unique is the fact that Skibska’s innovation in flameworking is entirely due to her own discoveries through experimentation with scraps of broken glass and a torch. Her self-taught practices of gluing and “stretching” glass provided Skibska’s creative vision a means of being displayed in such a way as to suspend space and time through the usage and emphasis of light and spatial boundaries in what is now being referred to as “weaving”, “networking,” and “latticed work.” Skibska’s process also allows plenty of room for reinvention, which steers both the artist and the audience away from the humdrum, significantly evoking the subconscious and imagination.

A complete list of exhibiting artists: Dean Alison, Daniel Arsham, Michael Behrens, Christina Bothwell, Peter Bremers, Graham Caldwell, Nancy Cohen, Simone Crestani, Beverly Fishman, Giuliano Giuman, Slate Grove, Toshio Iezumi, Barbara Jagadics, Jiyong Lee, Beth Lipman, Joanna Manousis, Walter Martin and Paloma Muniz, Kait Rhoads, Mary Shaffer, Anna Skibska, Stani (Jan Borowski), Tim Tate, Mary Bayard White, and Jeff Zimmer.

—Paulina Switniewska

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