Glass objects by artists of the last 70 years featured here show the range of vibrant color, surface texture, and sculptural form that distinguish modern studio glass from millennium-old traditions of making functional glass objects.
The studio glass movement emerged after World War II, when increasing numbers of American and European artists working in small studio settings began to explore the artistic potential of glass. They honed their skills through workshops with industrial glassblowers, visits to European centers of glass production, and formal instruction in newly established university programs. Access to technical expertise and specialized glassworking facilities gave artists the means necessary to carry out their conceptual visions; as a result, interest in studio glass has grown exponentially.
Contemporary glass artists continue to sample forms and techniques from previous generations with particular focus on Venice (where glass has reigned supreme since the Renaissance). Sonja Blomdahl’s meditative bands of brilliant color were created by the double-bubble (incalmo) technique, learned from Venetian master Checco Ongaro, while Yoichi Ohira’s and Kait Rhoads’s mosaic compositions borrow from the Venetian tradition of assembling cross-sectional pieces of patterned canes (murrine). Richard Marquis’s unusual object Marquiscarpa #19 is named in honor of the Venetian architect and glassmaker Carlo Scarpa, renowned for his designs in murrine from the 1940s.
Pittsburgh has a proud and continuing tradition of glass production dating from the 18th century, and Carnegie Museum of Art has collected superlative examples of modern and contemporary glass.