Upcoming Exhibition

The Nature of Glass

2017.6.2 Frederick Hammersley, Self portrait, 1957, stained glass on magnesite, 8 1/2 × 8 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Frederick Hammersley Foundation, 2017 (2017.6.2). © New Mexico Museum of Art.

Organized from the New Mexico Museum of Art’s growing art glass collection, this exhibition explores how artists working in glass have engaged the natural world as content for their work. It also examines the nature of glass as a medium, exploring the technical and material nature of glass, the natural qualities of the medium and the process of how artists work with glass.

Nature, on the one hand, refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and to life in general. As glass can often allow us multiple views of the same thing at once, the idea of nature is examined through both of its facets in this exhibition. This includes plants, animals, and the landscape, but also the universe more broadly, and of course the human body, as we too are integral parts of the natural world. Artist in this exhibition use glass to explore and celebrate the natural world, through literal representations of plant and animal life, striking features of the meteorological or geographic phenomena, explorations of the human figure, cycles of life, and heavenly bodies.

Glass is a profoundly elemental medium. At its core, glass is the result of a volatile marriage of fire and earth in an almost alchemical process. Extreme temperatures are required to melt sand and other natural elements and turn them into liquid glass. With the addition of a variety metal oxides or metal powders to the smoldering crucible of molten glass, dazzling colors are achieved. As the glass cools, the malleable semi-liquid is transfigured into one of the most durable and resilient, yet at the same time delicate and fragile, solids on earth.

Nature also refers to the inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it. This exhibition features a broad representation of artistic approaches to glass, and the unique qualities of glass as an artistic medium. Techniques include blown glass, hotwired glass, etched glass, assemblage with glass, sand carved-glass, cast glass, kiln-formed glass, stained glass, and other techniques, with an eye to how these various methods of working glass inform the aesthetics of the art object.