A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass

November 3, 2018 – February 3, 2019

Steffen Dam_Specimen CabinetGlass has been called a new state of matter because it does not fit squarely within the definition of a liquid, solid, or gas. Its amorphous molecular structure allows it to transition from a liquid to a solid over a wide temperature range, causing it to be nicknamed chameleon matter. This quality makes glass an ideal medium for a wide array of processes including blowing, kiln-forming, casting, and flame-working.

Glass can be translucent, transparent, or opaque; it can refract images or reflect them back to the viewer; it is strong, yet delicate. The ineffable and paradoxical qualities of glass make it perfectly suited for artists to explore fragility, resiliency, transparency, and transformation. This exhibition features work by contemporary artists who are using glass in innovative ways, while presenting its metaphorical possibilities. Their artworks also connect to broader cultural, environmental, political, and spiritual themes.

Each of the nineteen artists included in the exhibition examines the material and symbolic potential of glass in unique and revealing ways. For example, artists Charlotte Potter and April Surgent use the ancient process of cameo glass engraving to explore relationships in the age of social media and climate change, respectively. Jeffrey Stenbom utilizes cast glass to unveil the struggles facing the nation’s veterans. David Chatt, in a repetitive, labor-intensive process, covers found objects with thousands of miniscule glass beads to discuss family and nostalgia. Amber Cowan repurposes American pressed glass to create her intricate installations that recall a by-gone era.

Featured artists include: Dean Allison, David Chatt, Amber Cowan, Steffen Dam, Morgan Gilbreath, Tali Grinshpan, Etsuko Ichikawa, Patrick Martin, Rachel Moore, Whitney Nye, Charlotte Potter, Michael Rogers, Erica Rosenfeld, Mary Shaffer, Jeffrey Stenbom, April Surgent, Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Norwood Viviano, and Jeff Zimmer.

Organized by the Boise Art Museum

Sponsored by the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation
with additional grant support from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass

IMAGE: Steffen Dam, Specimen Cabinet, 2017, glass and mixed media, 39 ¼” x 25″ x 10″, Courtesy of the artist and Heller Gallery, New York.