• Asa Ana

"Glassnot" Exhibit Creates New Language Using Glass as Medium

Glassnost," a new exhibition of works in glass was inspired by an exhibit titled "Artists Crossing Lines" at the Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC). Some of the same artwork that was displayed at the PGC has been transformed and reworked to fit the Miller Gallery. Because many artists contributing works to "Glassnost" work primarily in other media, the exhibition exemplifies the dialogue that occurs when artists engage in new work and collaboration.

"These artists utilize glass in a multi-directional language with sensibilities that include profound insights with regard to utility, ornamentation, politics and formal style," said Paul Krainak, essayist for the exhibit's catalogue.

The exhibition features works by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Hilary Harp and Suzie Silver, Andrew Johnson, and Carol Kumata. It also includes a large collaborative installation by Kathleen Mulcahy, the exhibition's curator, Ron Desmett and Martin Prekop.

"I invited [the artists] to think in glass," said Mulcahy. "An important piece of the puzzle was to connect with professional artists living in our region who do not necessarily work in glass, but whose aesthetic wisdom and intellectual pursuit led us to believe they can look at glass or making art with glass in a fresh, new way."

Bellan-Gillen's paintings have been described as "mixtures of T.S. Eliot and slang," and "flickering between beauty and silliness, between elegance and humor." She has won several awards for her art, including the 1995 Pittsburgh Artist of the Year Award. She received her master's degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1979, and is currently associate head of Carnegie Mellon's School of Art and the Dorothy L. Stubnitz Professor of Art.

The collaborative work of Harp and Silver relies upon the interaction of video and sculpture to create multi-sensory, multi-faceted experiences. Their single-channel video, "The Happiest Day," has screened at video and art festivals around the world, and their contribution to "Glassnost" is a continuation of the cross-media collaboration they have enjoyed since 2003. Silver is an associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon and Harp recently completed a one-year residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center that was funded by The Heinz Endowments.

Johnson works in several different types of media, from painting and drawing to sculpture, installations and performance art. Topics of his past solo exhibitions include the Hatian grass roots movement, predatory economics, hemispheric hegemonies and the unabated sowing of land mines. He received his master's degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1994, and is currently an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Art.

Kumata's installation reflects her interest in dichotomy by showcasing opposites and complements, inner truths and outer appearances. Several of her works rely upon the passage of time as a key element. Her work in this exhibition, "Fragile," relies upon dripping candle wax that accumulates over time. Kumata has been a professor of art at Carnegie Mellon since 1979.

Mulcahy works as an independent artist with her husband and partner, Desmett. Their work has won numerous awards. The Renwick Galleries at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., acquired their collaborative work "Crossings 1982" this year. Mulcahy and Desmett played key roles in founding the Pittsburgh Glass Center and serve on its board of directors.

Prekop, a professor of art at Carnegie Mellon, is a renowned photographer and the former dean of the College of Fine Arts.

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