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Our favorite pieces at this year’s Art on Fire auction

· Arts Events,Artist Services,glass

We’re lucky that we’ve been able to get some up-close-and-personal experiences with incredible artwork. From our Artist Interview Series to supporting artists by photographing their finished work, there’s been no shortage of pieces that make us think, marvel at the artistry presented, and just plain say, “Whoa, check this out!” Recently, we photographed pieces for Pittsburgh Glass Center’s Art on Fire Celebration and Auction. While everything is beautiful, we can’t help but to play favorites.

Nathan’s Favorite

This piece by Evelyn Dunstan is named Migration. It’s cast glass and measures 8”x9”x3”. There are many thought-provoking elements at work here in her object. I really enjoy the detail and textures of this piece. Even though it’s cast glass, it looks much more delicate than it is. Because of that, there’s an interesting play between feeling solid and fragile. It’s purposefully made that way, which adds another layer of depth to her piece.

That duality is carried through in the color story as it fades from a bright, clear cerulean to pure white. This reminds me of the mystery and drama of the theatre; it’s almost as if the comedy and tragedy masks are combined into one. Pulling that out a bit more, there’s a pageantry to this that evokes the feeling and costumes of Mardi Gras in my mind.

It is a very beautiful piece that clearly has had a lot of time and consideration poured into it.

Sam’s Favorite

I love all different types of glass art: some simple, some detailed, some bright and colorful and others monochromatic and subtle. But what really piques my interest are pieces that are unexpected or add a cleverness to their story that the viewer didn’t anticipate. That’s how I feel about Morgan Gilbreath’s Crown of Immortality. This piece is made from found and fused medical glass and measures 8”x8”x1”.

Morgan says of her work, “As a form of artistic comparative anthropology, I use mundane, cheap, inherited, wasted, or found objects and multiple glass elements to create work that references longstanding religious and historic archetypes.”

The symbolism in this piece is very compelling to me. The medium of discarded class is placed in opposition with the idea of regality. The crown may be royal, consecrated, and/or victorious. That idea is pushing against the idea of the material it is made from: discarded, left behind, base level. This beautiful piece hides the essence of its very self.

However, you don’t need to know anything about Morgan or this piece to appreciate its beauty. It follows a simple, elegant form. In person, it catches light in a really interesting way because of the texture she creates by softly melting together clear glass elements.

Ultimately, combining the visual details and the conceptual layer together adds more interest for me.

And after all of that, I also just really appreciate seeing where Morgan’s work has gone from year to year. I’ve known her and her work since she was introduced to glass, so there’s a nostalgic element that I appreciate seeing the progression of how she’s grown.

Have you seen the items available at this year’s auction? What’s your favorite?

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