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Schantz Galleries to present Italian Master Lino Tagliapietra's 'A Sanctuary in Glass' at Art Palm Beach
Nudo di Donna, 2013, 39.75 x 59 x .5," glass, photo by Russell Johnson.

STOCKBRIDGE, MASS.- Schantz Galleries presents 'A Sanctuary of Glass,' an exhibition of work by legendary Italian glass master Lino Tagliapietra, at the Art Palm Beach contemporary art fair, Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Boulevard, January 24-27th, 2014. A reception and live book signing with the artist will be held Friday, January 24th, from 4:30-5:30pm, in Schantz Galleries booth #302 at the fair. Tagliapietra will travel from Italy to sign his recent publication, ‘La Poesia Nella Vetro: The Poetry of Glass,’ at the event. Fair hours are 12 noon to 7pm Friday through Sunday, and 6pm on Monday. An invitation-only preview takes place at 6pm on Thursday, January 23rd.

As James Yood, adjunct professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and regular contributor to GLASS magazine, wrote, “There are probably no two words more respected and honored in the history of modern sculpture in glass than ‘Lino Tagliapietra;’ he is the living bridge, the crucial link between the august history of Venetian glass and the ceaseless wonders of what today we call the modern Studio Glass Movement.”

An influential Venetian artist and master glassmaker, Tagliapietra’s work is recognized worldwide. He has exhibited in museums across the globe, receiving countless awards, honors, and openly sharing his far-reaching knowledge of the medium and skill as one of its finest practitioners; his career is defined by his dedication to workmanship, innovation, and collaboration—including his participation in the La Scuola Internazionale del Vetro symposia in the 1970s which brought the finest Muranese makers together with artists from around the world.

Schantz Galleries’ ‘A Sanctuary of Glass’ at Art Palm Beach 2014 features the artist’s blown glass sculptures, glass installations, and most recent fused glass panels. Tagliapietra continues to be a pioneer in the field, while nearing eighty years of age; the stunning works in this exhibition demonstrate both his creative inventiveness and technical complexity in an ever-evolving body of work. Like Modernist masters breaking away from Old Master tradition, Tagliapietra highlights the qualities of his medium and purposefully manipulates form and color to achieve symbolic meaning. Collectors will delight in the opportunity to experience the achievements of this top contemporary glass master in person, and meet the artist first-hand.

“The ancient Greek legend of the apropos in describing Tagliapietra’s approach to his art. Like the phoenix, he is cyclically reborn and carries his ancestry within him, obtaining new life from the ashes...Like the Phoenix, Tagliapietra carries his Venetian patrimony with him but breathes new life into glass tradition with artful shapes and cutting-edge methods. He also distinguishes himself from other Venetian masters with his outward-looking globalism. Through his world travels teaching classical and new methods, he finds creative and technical inspiration.” -Jeanne Koles, ‘La Poesia Nella Vetro: The Poetry of Glass’ (2013)

The newest works being presented in this exhibition are fused glass panels, including the extraordinary ‘Campo delle CiÓcołe.’ Tagliapietra’s fused panels epitomize his amalgamation of Italian inspiration and cutting-edge technique, while also demonstrating his understanding of art historical precedent. He spent more than two years experimenting and researching fusing techniques and material compatibility in order to create these quintessential new works—perfect but seemingly effortless, cutting-edge but organically beautiful, with a nod to history. ‘Campo delle CiÓcołe’ (‘a place where there is chit-chat’) is reminiscent of a Robert Motherwell painting in glass, with an aquatic Venetian aspect and rhythmic musicality. Here, the artist has invented an intricate process in which blown, twisted, and pulled elements are organized into a thick, painterly panel. As with any great abstract art, covert messages are entwined within the compositions.

A further example of the artist’s masterful coupling of prowess in his medium with graphic sensibility, the vertical, shield-like forms of the ‘Masai’ series demonstrate a sophisticated sculptural awareness of space. While the Masai warriors of Kenya, for which this installation is named, incorporate shades of black, white, and red in their designs, the colors of this installation represent Tagliapietra’s own aesthetic experiences, recalling Australian motifs, Seattle sunsets, and the canals of Venice.

The exhibition also features works from Tagliapietra’s ‘Ala’ series, in which the he conjures the ubiquitous Venetian seagull. The simple shapes belie an elaborate construction process; each exceptionally lengthy blown vessel is placed onto forms while hot in order to achieve its arches, cooled in the annealer, cut to achieve wing shape and, finally, cold-worked for surface detail. The birds possess an abstract minimalism of form and color, evoking a feeling of dramatic hovering while offering a simple beauty that speaks to Tagliapietra’s love of his homeland.

Through his world travels teaching classical and new methods, Tagliapietra finds creative and technical inspiration. The Australia series glimmers with the vivid hues of that landscape, pays homage to the country’s fauna, and conjures the native markings of Aboriginal art. In his ‘Kookaburra’ vessels (inspired by a 2012 trip to Australia), layers of glass are blown within one another to create depth of pattern. The effect is anthropomorphic, evocative of mountains fiercely colored with red, gold, and amber. ‘A Sanctuary of Glass’ extends a concurrent invitation to its viewers to call to mind their own journies and memories.

“John Keats said of poetry that it should ‘strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.’ There is something elevated about each of Tagliapietra’s masterful creations, which are surely poesia nella vetro—poetry in glass. The work, like the man, is joyous, generous, and seemingly effortless. In fact, it represents a rare talent who has devoted himself for decades to perfecting the art of glass. Tagliapietra seems to understand that his has been an incredible journey thus far, but he also continues to recognize that tomorrow holds the possibility of creating something even better.” -Jeanne Koles

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