Blue Rain Gallery has a reputation for producing stand out shows in glass, offering viewers some of the highest-level offerings and most celebrated artists working in the medium today. This Group Glass exhibition is no exception. Participating artists include Preston Singletary, Vivian Wang, Shelley Muzylowski Allen, Rik Allen, Dan Dailey, Benjamin Cobb, Nancy Callan, Dan Friday, Susan Taylor Glasgow, and Alex Bernstein. “Glass is a magical medium,” says Executive Director Denise Phetteplace, “and this exhibition seeks to further illustrate that point. Glass can be blown, stretched, cut, cast, cold-worked, colored, opalescent, opaque, and luminous. It can visually look like glass, or it can take on the appearance of other materials. In an exhibition like this, we can highlight just how broad glass art can be; each of the participating artists represents a unique skillset and visual style within the medium.”
The gallery traces its beginnings in glass to Preston Singletary. Blue Rain began working with Preston Singletary more than 25 years ago. At the time, Blue Rain Gallery did not have much knowledge of glass, but Preston’s work felt like a natural fit because his sculptures were reflective of his native Tlingit heritage—and at that time, Blue Rain Gallery was predominately focused on regional and Native American Art. Glass was a relatively new medium in the Southwest. Painting, Pueblo Pottery, and jewelry dominated the art scene and collecting trends in this region. Through a tremendous amount of education about the medium, and a passion that would not quit, Blue Rain Gallery quickly became a destination for Studio Glass Art in the Southwest. The Gallery grew its stable of glass artists organically, looking for artists that represented a unique style and approach to working with the medium. The gallery began participating in international art expos such as SOFA Chicago and SOFA New York, among others, where glass was emphasized and widely accepted. Blue Rain began programing Invitational glass shows, and other glass related events to further bolster its presence in the glass art market and offer would-be collectors and enthusiasts the best possible experience.
This year’s Group Glass Exhibition at Blue Rain Gallery seeks to uphold the standard and exceed expectations. Do not miss an opportunity to see this show live at the gallery. The gallery’s website, www.blueraingallery.com, is also a tremendous resource, complete with videos, blogs, and podcasts that help educate about its glass art offerings and its artists.
About some of the artists:
After more than 40 years working in his medium, Preston Singletary has firmly established himself as a preeminent glass artist whose groundbreaking designs, shapes, and techniques have set new standards of excellence, both for glass art as a whole and contemporary Native Art in particular. His luminous and sand carved glass sculptures reflect traditional utilitarian forms, and his interest in modern sculpture. Through the crafting of totem animals like whales, ravens, frogs, and eagles, and a learned mastery of formline design, Singletary is able to further elaborate on the stories of his culture. In the process, he has changed perceptions of the medium and the subject matter in ways both subtle and dramatic.
Singletary not only values the luminous visual dimension that glass brings to the ancient symbols; he also prizes the medium’s durability, a quality often lacking among the traditional mediums of Native art, which are vulnerable to weathering and decomposition. Glass has thus served as means of updating the culture’s worldview, encouraging a more modern expression.
Recognized internationally, Singletary's artworks are included in museum collections such as the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington DC), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), The Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, NY) The Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA), the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY), the Mint Museum of Art and Design (Charlotte, NC), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and the Handelsbanken (Stockholm, Sweden). Singletary is a member of the Board of Trustees for Pilchuck Glass School and the Seattle Art Museum. Currently, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC is featuring Preston Singletary’s solo exhibition, “Raven and the Box of Daylight.” Blue Rain Gallery is planning a special Pop-up Exhibition featuring Preston Singletary’s work in Alexandria, Virginia May 6 – 8 to compliment the exhibition at the Smithsonian.
Shelley Muzylowski Allen is a figural glass sculptor that works with animal forms. She is particularly interested in depicting horses in her work, though she has expanded her sculptural vocabulary to include representations of rhinoceroses, elephants, bears, deer, elk, rams, antelope, gazelles and more.
By depicting these various species, she references their place in our history, our present, and in our mythologies. These sculptures serve as icons of eras and symbols of the world’s cultures. Allen’s graceful blown glass sculptures are layered with color and texture, and each employ a unique use of mixed materials, creating tension with, and adding dimension to the glass.
Shelley Muzylowski Allen’s work is held nationally and internationally in public institutions and private collections such as the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, the Nuutajarvii Lasikyla in Finland, and the imagine Museum in Saint Petersburg, FL. In 2008, Shelley had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington, titled Modern Menagerie.
American visual artist Dan Dailey has simultaneously produced sculpture and functional art with an emphasis on lighting since 1970. Made primarily from glass and metal, every piece of work begins with a drawing. Dailey's drawings and the objects they inspire depict human character and the world we inhabit, with many familiar forms rendered iconic. His myriad series explore extraordinary concepts with a broad range of themes and styles. These attributes and his fifty years of achievement and recognition have made Dan Dailey a prominent artist in the history of glass, and unique among American artists.
Dan Dailey is Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, where he founded the Glass Department in 1973. He has taught at numerous schools including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design (where he received his MFA), the Pilchuck Glass School and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and he has given lectures and workshops throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. His work is represented in more than 50 museum and public collections around the world.
Susan Taylor Glasgow has been a working glass artist since the late nineties. Prior to making the transition to studio glass she owned and operated a dressmaking shop where she was the head seamstress. Glasgow’s glass sculptures celebrate her talent for sewing and all things domestic as she reinterprets all things stereotypically female: lingerie, purses, baked goods, tea sets and chandeliers. Her unique approach to glass involves stitching glass components together, patte de vere, and the use of enamels. Redefining "woman's work" in non-traditional mediums, Susan explores the dichotomy of women and societal expectations.
Susan Taylor Glasgow’s glass and mixed media sculptures can be found in the permanent collections of several national and international museums, including the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburg, PA, the Imagine Museum in Saint Petersburg, FL, and Berstrom-Mahler of the United States, and the Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung, Germany.
Dan Friday credits glass with changing his life in the best of ways. The first time he saw glass blowing in process, he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Friday is a member of the Lummi Nation from northern Washington, and his culture is a major creative influence in his art-making.
Friday typically works with simple themes and forms to create stylized bears, baskets, totems, and salmon, employing subtle silhouettes and sometimes complex cane patterns. His glass- making practices include a combination of furnace sculpting and glass blowing, depending on the particular form he is seeking to create. He is a shining product of the studio glass movement and has spent more than two-and-a-half decades working with, and absorbing the influence of, artists such as Dale Chihuly and Paul Marioni.
In 2021 The Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, WA hosted a six-month solo exhibition of Dan Friday’s work titled “Future Artifacts,” and Friday’s work was included in an exhibition of glass art titled “Clearly Indigenous: Native Glass Reimagined at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM.
Vivian Wang is an American artist of Chinese descent. Her glass and ceramic sculptures are largely inspired by the historic paintings and sculptures of the women and children of the Tang and Song dynasties of China and the Heian and Edo Periods in Japan.
Wang’s sculptures are at once luminous and statuesque; ancient and new. The artist pays close attention to the garments that clothe each of her subjects. As a former fashion designer, she enjoys combining patterns from ancient textiles with bold, contemporary color. She seeks to give these new sculptures a distressed and ancient look.
Wang spares no detail, adorning each peaceful sculpture with casein paint, gemstones and engraved designs. Her artwork reflects the opulence and pageantry of centuries-old court life. It is a true contemporary expression of ancient art.
The Museum of Ancient Wonders in Cathedral City, California has included two of Vivian Wang’s glass sculptures in their new exhibition, “All Under Heaven: Wonders of the East, Original Antiquities from Asia.” Wang’s sculptures can also be seen in the permanent collections of Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida, the Fort Wayne Museum in Indiana, the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, and the Barry Art Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, among others.
Blue Rain Gallery welcomes artist, Alex Bernstein. He is the newest addition to our stable of glass artists. Bernstein’s cast and carved glass sculptures are a process driven, dynamic combination of luminosity, texture, and form. Often combining glass and steel, each piece is beautifully balanced. Bernstein is known for fusing steel to the surface of his glass sculptures, a technique he developed himself, and is now widely known in the glass community as “Bernsteining.”
Alex Bernstein’s sculpture is included in numerous collections, including those of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glasmuseum Frauenau in Germany, the Mellon Financial Corporation, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Palm Springs Art Museum.