Glass is a wondrous magical material that’s full of paradoxes. It’s an ancient material that’s been worked for thousands of years, and yet anything that’s covered with glass seems more modern and high tech. There’s always been technical challenges in working with glass and the secrets of the material have only been slowly unlocked as new processes are discovered.
In the “Shines Through” exhibit at the Huntington Beach Art Center, visitors can see some of the unlocked secrets of glass. Curator Hiromi Takizawa, an artist and instructor specializing in glass, has brought together a group of artists whose works go beyond traditional glass art. These artists are pushing the bounds of this material, but the dazzle of this material may sometimes obscure the concepts behind the works. This is another challenge of working with glass.
The works in “Shines Through” evoke the kinds of complex feelings that are associated with the ambivalent nature of glass. More than any other material, it calls out to be touched. It’s surprising that we didn’t see a fingerprint on any of the pieces. And yet, it’s not surprising because glass is cold and forbidding. It’s also very sensual and fluid. There are pieces in the exhibit that exude this yonic energy. And of course, there are pieces that are phallic and we can feel the hardness of the material without touching it. Underneath the hardness, there is a fragility that can quickly turn sharp and dangerous.
Beyond the feelings that the works in the exhibit evoke, the ones that provoke the most thought didn’t process glass in a new way. They used everyday glass objects combined with other everyday objects. Some were just rearranged in an unexpected way. They didn’t focus on the complex paradoxical characteristics of glass but rather its utilitarian aspects. These pieces show that great art doesn’t always have to do a lot to be great. It’s just needs to connect with our simple everyday experiences.
Shines Through, Sep. 22 – Oct. 27, 2018
Huntington Beach Art Center