Glass Art:
Jon Kuhn,
Allesandro Diaz de Santillana
and John Lewis

Margo Jacobsen Gallery, Portland
February 4 - 27

Jon Kuhn, Blue Oasis (1998),
cut, fused, polished and laminated optical glass

The three glass artists selected for this February exhibition, Kuhn, Santillana and Lewis, have not only emerged from disparate backgrounds and sensibilities, but display the three major thrusts in contemporary glass art: cold construction, glass blowing and glass casting, providing the less-acquainted viewer with a telling overview of basic forms and effects in this versatile medium.

Jon Kuhn's most recent sculpture is essentially a geometric abstraction built up of cut, fused, polished, and laminated elements, intended to reveal through the properties of optical clarity, light, and colour "the merging of ancient philosophies with modern form address the questions of body and soul and external structure to internal transfiguration." Kuhn's work effectively extends the objectives of classic constructivism and De Stijl to ever widening circles of meaning.

Allesandro Diaz de Santillana is part of the historic Venetian tradition of direct glass blowing and molten manipulation at the end of a pipe. Formed, etched and ground, often in combination with metals, his shapes are basic and universal, with Brancusi-like streamlining and a multiplicity of interpretations from bomb to leaf to fish to phallus to boat, leaving nothing certain but the exquisite hand-wrought care with which it is finished.

John Lewis has put together a foundry which can melt a ton of glass at a time. His focus is on the utilitarian properties of 'big glass,' and architectural projects such as walls, columns, benches and tables, although he is still devoted to massive vessel forms which play off negative and positive space, and transparent against translucent effects.

© Ted Lindberg