Reprinted from its original publication on Exit 133.
One of my favorite things about the Museum of Glass is that there, art is not only shown, but made.
Glimmering Gone is uniquely MOG: the exhibition features new works formed through collaboration between artists Beth Lipman and Ingalena Klenell, including the works Artifact and Momento, both of which were produced during Lipman and Klenell’s MOG residency in January 2010.
The exhibition also includes a large-scale installation, Landscape, that Lipman and Klenell collaborated on from their own studios in Wisconsin and Sweden respectively.
Momento and Artifact are composed of glass replicas of everyday objects, some of which were suggested by Museum visitors. Momento consists of a series of illuminated cases featuring groupings of purposeful fragments—half a microphone, a slice of a funnel, a morsel of a whisk—all rendered in clear glass. Looking at these vignettes, I felt I was given a brief glimpse at the future of these objects as relics in a museum. Artifact led me to contemplate the negative effect of the “things” we leave behind.
The Artifact objects made of opaque white glass emerge from a white wall, as if from a sea of similar white objects so dense that they can no longer be distinguished. The array of only partially seen objects, such as disposable cups, straws, lamps, and teddy bears, instantly suggests “landfill.”
Situated across from Artifact, the fragile-looking Landscape is a meditation on permanence and impermanence.
Constructed of colorless glass and suspended by wires, Landscape creates an icy layered forest scene with mountains, a waterfall, and a mirrored stream (don’t forget to look up to see the light reflected on the ceiling) running down the middle. The overall effect is a frozen landscape that looks as if it is doomed to melt or shatter.
In designing Landscape, Lipman and Klenell found inspiration in the early-twentieth-century northwest artist Abby Williams Hill, whose sketches resonate strikingly with the colorless glass.
Though the sketches are no longer on view, a number of Williams Hill’s recently-restored paintings hang in the first-floor hallway of Jones Hall on the University of Puget Sound (Artemisia Pool by A.W. Hill shown above).
Lipman and Klenell connected with the talent and adventurous spirit of Williams Hill, forming a tri-part collaboration firmly rooted in the northwest that surmounts time and space.
Glimmering Gone is accompanied by two other exhibitions Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard and Gathering: John Miller and Friends. These exhibitions balance the austere severity of Glimmering Gone with whimsy, color, and varied themes.
More information about the Abby Williams Hill collection at the University of Puget Sound is available here.
Glimmering Gone is on exhibit at the Museum of Glass until March 2012. More information here.