February 10, 2005

Googling "New Glass"

Iíve been looking at my library recently after getting my books out of storage. I find I only have 25-30 specifically on stained glass, but they are a choice selection. For instance, I keep saying I should get a Tiffany book, but I think... maybe not, I can always go to the library.

One book of note I do have Ė One I remember getting very well -
New Glass by Otto Rigan.

--my own well worn copy--

I first came across it when I was a teenage hobbyist in the 1970's. My primary exposure to stained glass up to this point had been in a few churches and in (I hate to admit) pattern books. I had seen very little stained glass of merit up to that point and almost nothing in a more contemporary style. So, this book was an eye opener.

It's almost 30 years since its publication and I was wondering how many of these artists are still working in stained glass. The first step - Google, of course!

Of the 25 artists mentioned in the book (including the author), fewer than half are still actively working in stained glass, perhaps as few as a third.

For instance, Otto Rigan, the author, is a working artist but he seems to be doing only sculptural public art works. Granted, some of those sculptures incorporate glass, but not in a way that suggests stained glass windows.

Paul Marioni and Dick Weiss I could only find as part of gallery websites. Paul Marioni has some of my favorite pieces in the book. Not surprisingly to me, his career veered more toward studio glass in the 80ís and has never looked back. If he were being judged solely by internet exposure, he is best known now as a teacher or as the father of Dante Marioni.

Dick Weiss is an interesting case in that he is one of the few to be doing more stained glass than he did 15 Ė 20 years ago. That is, he seems to have come back to it after thirty years of doing other conceptual art. This is evidenced by the stained glass screens and the painted work he is making. He is one of the few whose work has evolved and whose recent work is more interesting to me than the work from 30 years ago.

Judy Raffael, another one whose work in the book I especially like, seems to have turned entirely to painting. That is, if I have the right person. If Judy Raffael transformed into Judy North, she is now exclusively a painter. No mention of stained glass.

The artists who are working in stained glass (or thereabouts) and have full fledged websites include Peter Mollica, Elizabeth Devereaux, Kristin Newton (in Japan!), and the inimitable Narcissus Quagliatia.

Dan Fenton does mostly fused glass and is best known for his workshops.

Ed Carpenter and James Hubbell have studios that are devoted to designing entire architectural environments, with stained glass being a small element, if used at all.

Bill Cummings moved to Western Massachusetts, runs a well known studio and has worked with many well known designers. I have visited the studio and know a number of people who have worked there.

I could find nothing on Jad King, Kerry Kelly, Fred Abrams, Sanford Barnett, Judy Jansen, Terry Markarian, Peter Wickman. There was very little on Kathie Stackpole Bunnell, Mark Adams or Hilda Sachs. I remember Bunnell having the biggest buzz in the Boston area in the early 80ís when I first entered stained glass professionally.

There were many references to Robert Kehlman, but more on his role as a writer on glass art than as a glass artist. There is reference to a book of his artwork, but none of his artwork to be found on the internet. He did write a book on 20th century Stained Glass, but Iíve never seen it and it seems hard to locate. Curious.

Some of this may have to do with the vagaries of internet searches, of course. Common names are never as easy to search as unique names, for instance. And, of course, thatís just as far as I can tell from one afternoonís googling.

Posted by Tom at February 10, 2005 03:03 PM