Glass is one of the most wonderful materials that an artist has to work with. What makes this material so unique are its characteristics of being fragile and strong at the same time," says Lino Tagliapietra. "A well-made piece of glass work would show this incredible duality."
In 1989, after more than forty years of working and designing for various Murano factories, including Ferro, Venini, and as the Artistic and Technical Director for Effetre, Lino Tagliapietra set out to redefine himself as a visual artist. To this day, part of this designation and creative process involves travels all over the world to teach and create, while absorbing the cultural offerings of places such as Finland, Japan, Australia, Istanbul, Morroco, South and North America. Through all these influences and a full and learned lifetime, it is clear that the artist has a well informed global perspective while maintaining his own very innate aesthetic, which is uniquely Lino.
Regarded internationally as the best glass blower in the world, and truly an inventive artist, Lino is not one to rest on his past accomplishments. After more than 65 years of working with glass, he continues to be inspired to work on new concepts and designs. This past year, the artists passion for his art has driven him to create large scale fused glass panels, using various forms of his own hand pulled canes, murrini, rondelle and glass pellets. Varying in size, some of the one to two inch thick panels measure up to eight feet tall when in the steel stand used to display the work. While Tagliapietra is adept at incorporating abstract graphic visuals within his sculptural vessel forms, to some viewers the artists compositional lyricism is more evident in these panels. Subtle and strong, the fused glass panels are uncompromising paintings with glass. The works of art create movement and offer a sublime beauty to the viewer.
Tramonto, (Sunset) is a 4 foot tallfused glass panel from the Colors of Burano series, with soft transitions reminiscent of work by American abstract painter Mark Rothko. Like Tagliapietra, Rothko averred that simply being great at painting did not make for great painting. He was a learned philosopher whose paintings were infused with mythological, religious, and social references, ideas, and commentaries. In the dramatic Tramonto, Tagliapietra declares his love for the sunset, relishing the opulent Venetian light and how dramatically the sky changes during the fleeting moments of sunset. In this panel, the mulberry smudge of moon casts its warm glow on the objects below and the sky darkens to an inky stain.
Closer inspection reveals thousands of tiny bubbles within the thick layers of glass, adding to the watery impression of the work. Bold graphic design, the artists use of color and spatial relationships combine in the various panels of the entire series, evoking the canals and the colorful houses that populate of this Venetian island.
Irene, an iconic fused glass panel measures 5 feet in height and consists of hundreds of dazzling murrini which Tagliapietra must spend weeks to make prior to composing the graphic of the panel. While there is gentleness in the figure like form, there is a small amount of tension found in angles and color all serving to give Irene the presence of a contemporary icon. The intricate murrini technique is taken to dramatic heights in this jewel-like panel reminiscent of Gustav Klimt. Despite the sumptuousness of the glass, sadness permeates the figure and we clearly feel that the artist is tellingand honoringa deeply personal, slightly melancholic tale.
This year at SOFA Chicago, Schantz Galleries
will be presenting an innovative body of work by Lino Tagliapietra, never before presented as a feature exhibition. The focus of this exhibition will be nine panels from the Colors of Burano and sculptural vessels from the Fuji and Osaka series. Blown or fused glass in the hands of Maestro Tagliapietra not only convey his remarkable technical ability, but communicate the expressive aesthetic of the artist; a light, intelligent and sublime presence that will stop you in your tracks.
Lino Tagliapietra has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions and is represented in a global assortment of museums and art institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Shanghai Museum of Glass, Shanghai, China, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK. Last fall at SOFA Chicago, Schantz Galleries placed a major panel at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin. This past July, the Columbus Museum of Art, in Ohio acquired Tagliapietras glass installation Endeavor, a large scale installation that captures Linos love of glass. This armada of thirty-five boats suspended from the ceiling has become an iconic part of the Museums collection.