Skip to Content
All MassArt news

Vitreous Bodies: Assembled Visions in Glass on view

  • Press Releases

MassArt’s Bakalar & Paine Galleries present
Vitreous Bodies: Assembled Visions in Glass
On view January 23 – March 4, 2017
Free and open to the public

Boston, MA – January 12, 2017 – Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Bakalar & Paine Galleries present Vitreous Bodies: Assembled Visions in Glass on view January 23 – March 4, 2017.

Vitreous Bodies: Assembled Visions in Glass offers a look into and a reflection of life through a contemporary glass lens. Curated by Bakalar & Paine Galleries Director Lisa Tung, this is the first exhibition to showcase only glass artwork in the Galleries’ 30-year history. Visions in Glass features 13 mid-career to established multidisciplinary artists using glass to create site-specific installations that are composed of multiple components. The works on view in this exhibition also demonstrate the variety of techniques and approaches contemporary artists are using to manipulate the medium, such as traditional glassblowing, casting, and flameworking.

Traditionally utilitarian as vessel, window, mirror, or sculpture, glass is no longer relegated to merely the functional or craft realms, but rather is utilized as a limitless and expressive material for artists to create multilayered work as evidenced in Vitreous Bodies: Assembled Visions in Glass. With its historical ties to architecture, decorative arts, and sculpture, this fluid medium has attracted many of today’s artists to create conceptual work that reflects our times. It is prescient that so many prominent contemporary artists are all including and experimenting with glass as part of their body of work—confirming the power of this timeless material.

Artists featured: Kanik Chung, Daniel Clayman, Petah Coyne, Mona Hatoum, Timothy Horn ’04, Michael Joo, Dafna Kaffeman, Jacob Kassay, Maya Lin, Lucy and Jorge Orta, Arlene Shechet, Thaddeus Wolfe, and Rob Wynne.

Kanik Chung (1968-2013) An advocate for design works in the field of glass, and a multimedia artist whose practice relied on a conceptual approach to many mediums, Chung is best known for his exacting precision and restrained wit. On view will be a sculptural installation that features 44 clear glass sheets, each with a portrait of every president from George Washington to Barack Obama. This sculpture embodies the overlapping, colliding, and connected beliefs, policies, and vision of all the past presidents who have shaped the United States.

Daniel Clayman started his career as a theater lighting designer and has carried his fascination with light to his work with glass, creating luminescent sculptures and environmental installations that reveal their surroundings, forever changing with the passing of time and the shifts in daylight. For Visions in Glass, Clayman has crafted three life-sized glass boulders in gold, silver, and copper meticulously recreated from a stone extracted from a field in rural Connecticut. After casting, mapping, and recording the texture and topology of the boulder, Clayman elevates the weighty stone to the realm of the ethereal, filled with light, and consciously precious. His works consistently relate to the natural or architectural environments surrounding them, which is extending his environmental focus seen also in Rainfield, Clayman’s site-specific large-scale installation in MassArt’s Design and Media Center. This work was created with MassArt students in an interdisciplinary class, and is the inaugural public artwork for the College’s Design and Media Center.

While in residence on the glass blowing island of Murano, Italy, Petah Coyne created a symbolic feminine body constructed from chandeliers, mirrors, flowers, and shoes—one that is hyper ornamental, barely contained, contradictory, colorful, and intricate. On view in this exhibition are abstract portraits of powerful women evidenced by three glass flowers under bell jars—celebrating the fairer sex’s strength and permanence. 

Born to a Palestinian family in Lebanon, Mona Hatoum’s work focuses on issues of entrapment, displacement, violation, and war. An early adopter of glass as a purely sculptural medium, Hatoum’s works on view in Visions in Glass each refer to confinement and the human condition while contrasting the allure and beauty of glass with an unyielding structure. A dual reference to prison and blood, Cells, juxtaposes the seductive quality of blown-glass forms with the industrial rigidness of steel cages.

MassArt alumnus Timothy Horn ‘04 explores dichotomies through his complicated, seductive work: organic and artificially man-made; miniscule and monumental; masculine and feminine. Inspired by jewelry design from the court of Louis XIV, Silver Convention, is a six-foot high organic “brooch” made of nickel-plated bronze, cast lead crystal, and silver foil.

Left: Timothy Horn. Silver Convention, 2015. Nickel-plated bronze, lead crystal, and silver foil. Courtesy PPOW, NY. 
Right: Dafna Kaffeman.
Wolf 01, 2010. Glass, aluminum, and silicon. Courtesy of the artist and Lorch + Seidel Contemporary, Berlin.

In his large-scale site-specific installation, Dissembled, the conceptual artist Michael Joo purposefully cast a symbol of power and tool for enforcement of order—police shields—out of a fragile material, suggesting that those who try to hide behind the deceptive practices of power and government are as transparent and breakable as glass.

Israeli artist Dafna Kaffeman is one of the few contemporary artists working today with flameworking, a technique that allows for surprisingly strong but delicately wrought sculptures. In the works on view, the material and figurative nature of the works evoke preciousness and fragility while simultaneously being fraught with a political charge. Touching on themes of violence, inner darkness, and political strife, Kaffeman explores our discordant contemporary times.

Conceptual artist Jacob Kassay works with various venues to complete his works, which respond to their environment. For Visions in Glass, he has relied on MassArt’s Morton R. Godine Library to provide the housing for his beautifully crafted sculptures. The transient and homeless glass wedges are like hermit crabs, whose shells are appropriately sized library books, which are swapped when the loan period has ended. No two showings of the glass wedges are alike since each time the work is shown it is a unique and temporary experience, one that reflects the books available at each site. 

Celebrated architect, land artist, and committed environmentalist Maya Lin is creating a new site-specific installation for the Bakalar & Paine Galleries. Lin uses thousands of marbles to recreate the Boston Harbor and related waterways, rivers, and tributaries writ onto the gallery floor and walls. Focusing her attention on the local watershed, Lin hopes to draw attention to the natural resources to be protected nearby.

A collaborative duo, Lucy and Jorge Orta create work that focuses on social and ecological issues that often explore the cross section between architecture and art. Their most recognizable installations create architectures of people, materials, forms, and shapes. For Visions in Glass, their interactive work Tower of Dreams invites visitors to write down their secret wishes for the future, which they insert into glass test tubes and deposit at the base of the sculpture to form a collective wish and site for hope.

Arlene Shechet has always been interested in and influenced by Buddhism and its states of transformation. Committed to the discovery of new materials and processes, Shechet continues to explore—and reveal—the tools of her trade, while reflecting and investigating the tradition of decorative arts. Her site-specific installation, Out of the Blue, is a series of carefully cast glass lengths of rope, seemingly stitched through the gallery walls, articulating planes and corners, positive and negative spaces.


Thaddeus Wolfe. From the series Assemblage Vessels, 2016. Mold-blown glass. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Mark Johnston.

Thaddeus Wolfe’s complex, mineral-like, material vessels reflect his deep understanding for the craft and interest in the way light is filtered through glass. His totemic, stacked forms reflect a laborious method of blown cast glass into molds that can only be used once. Formed from non-traditional sources like Styrofoam, these vessels confound the glass connoisseur with their complex detail and rough-hewn textures. Wolfe’s material process confirms his “analog” preference of existence where the artist’s touch is paramount.

Rob Wynne literally writes with glass. A painter by training, Wynne pioneered an experimental approach to the medium over 30 years ago. His poured glass sculptures form poetic text overheard from everyday conversations and quotes from literature, playfully merging and challenging our definitions of high and low culture.

Rob Wynne. Quogue Light, n.d. Poured mirrored glass. Courtesy of the artist.

Special Events

Opening Reception 
Monday, January 23, 6 – 8pm
Free and open to the public

Visions in Glass Artist Lectures
Design and Media Center Lecture Hall 
Free and open to the public

Wednesday, February 8, 6pm: Timothy Horn ‘04
Wednesday, February 22, 6pm: Rob Wynne

Family Day
Saturday, February 18, 11am – 4pm
Free and open to the public
Twice a year, visitors of all ages are invited to Family Day at the Galleries. Drop in for fun-filled art making activities, designed and led by MassArt art education students, inspired by the exhibitions on view. Refreshments served.

Plan Your Visit

Monday through Saturday 12 – 6pm
Wednesdays 12 – 8 pm 
(closed Sundays)
Free and open to the public 

MassArt, 621 Huntington Avenue (Avenue of the Arts), Boston 
Enter through the Design and Media Center 

Public Transportation
MBTA Green Line E Train (Longwood Medical Area stop)
Route 39 MBTA bus (Huntington Ave @ Longwood Ave stop)

image description
621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000