Daniel Clayman:
Gradations

Elliott Brown Gallery, Seattle
October 28 - November 28


Tender (1998)
cast glass, bronze

If glass is to take its place among standard sculptors' mediums, along with clay, wood, marble, bronze and steel, producing something that in formal terms is called "sculpture," not merely "glass art" (which can be anything from gigantically-blown baubles to spiralled paperweights), then Rhode Island artist Daniel Clayman is helping to put it there.

Clayman utilizes cast glass and other perennial materials, notably bronze, to express concepts and emotions in a breathtaking balance of poetry and technical facility. He recognizes the inherent qualities of each medium, without surrendering to the seduction glass can provide as merely a prismatic agency or vehicle for colour.

In a piece titled "Tender," (1998), for instance, Clayman combines glass and bronze to create a three-dimensional metaphor for the various ideas the word evokes both as adjective and verb; psychological and physical. Neither medium is necessarily revealed for what it is: the thin bronze "shell" is a patinated yellow-green that appears almost organic in origin. The filmy white glass, cupped in and emitting from the outer casing, could be an emerging flower, a dazzling jelly fish, or milk from a nipple. But viewing the work as pure abstraction, we are both tethered and directed by the title: a 3-D representation of a word/idea that is least of all didactic. "Tender," among other things, is a tender work.

Clayman presents the case for genuine sculpture and has brought to it the most salient prospects for glass as a formal medium.

© Ted Lindberg