April 24, 2015
These Murano glassmakers have turned the craft into art
Hudderfield Examiner, 04/24/2015
Hilarie Stelfox


These Murano glassmakers have turned the craft into art
Hudderfield Examiner, 04/24/2015
Hilarie Stelfox

It's hardly surprising that brother and sister Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana have a passion for glass in all its forms and colours.

That’s because the artistic siblings are descendants of the Venini glassware dynasty, established by Paolo Venini on the Venetian island of Murano in 1921.

Each honed their skills by working at Venini and have gone on to become glass artists of international renown.

An exhibition of their craft goes on show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on May 2, revealing the many ways that glass can be used as an artistic medium.

Peter Murray, YSP founding and executive director, explains: “Alessandro Diaz de Santillana and Laura de Santillana are siblings who have been creating impressive works of art for decades. Separately, they have fine-tuned shared experiences into different and distinctive visual languages.

“What they have in common is a shared passion for glass: the tradition, the craft and the endless possibilities of creating works of art from the magical and unpredictable qualities of this medium.”

Laura, who is the elder sibling, began experimenting with glass in her early 20s when she designed and created the Quattro Stagioni, a numbered edition of blown glass plates, which were acquired by the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. For a decade she worked with her brother at Venini, reorganising the museum and photographic archive as well as designing lamps and objects for the company.

Colour is fundamental to Laura’s work, from subtle misty opaque white and blue through to intense yellow uranium glass with the luminous quality of neon. She has developed a technique of taking a blown cylinder and folding it in on itself to create what she calls ‘glass books’. Her Blue Notebooks were inspired by Franz Kafka’s blue octavo notebooks used by the writer between 1917 and 1919 as diaries.

Alessandro is inspired by the glass-like qualities of water and many of his works have a strong painterly quality. The YSP exhibition includes a series of wall and floor works with a complex dark and mirrored patina, which gives the appearance of deep, reflecting pools.

He uses a technique applied for centuries in the production of hand-made windows – the glass is heated and cut then allowed to fall flat under its own weight to remove imperfections.

Unlike Laura, Alessandro works with glass that is only millimetres thick. He worked in New York before moving back to Tuscany, where he founded a new glassware company, Eos, with his sister and parents, and has exhibited widely around the world.

The YSP exhibition is open until September 6.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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