As a painter, I have often found the greatest enjoyment in going to galleries to view paintings as apposed to other artistic mediums. However, when I visited the Original Voices exhibit at the Ken Saunders Gallery, this bias was turned on its head.
The Ken Saunders Gallery, located in River North, exclusively features innovative glass sculptors. Original Voices, which ran from September to October 19, highlighted four artists—Matthew Cummings, Seth Fairweather, Bruno Romanelli, and Kanako Togaway—who were truly unique. Before seeing this exhibit, I had the preconceived notion that glass sculptures consisted primarily of kitschy figurines and brightly-colored, organic-looking abstractions resembling sea creatures. This exhibit was something else entirely.
I was most taken with the work of Matthew Cummings, whose sculptures were all black, clear, and white with only a few well-placed pops of color. Cunningham’s use of such a monochromatic palette serves as commentary on negative and positive space—which is only intensified by the transparency of glass. Some of his works, such as “Specimen Study,” were mounted against the wall in what can best be described as a shadowbox frame. This style of installation tests the boundaries between two and three-dimensional art, as if to say, “you can frame this work too!” Viewers heard the message loud and clear; words like composition and balance immediately came to mind.
Matthew Cummings, Suspended
Matthew Cummings, Specimen Study
Matthew Cummings, Birth and Death of a Shadow
Bruno Romanelli’s sculptures were equally impressive. I tend to define “good” art as art that can hold my attention for more than a few minutes. Romanelli passed this test with soaring colors; I could stare at one of his sculptures all day. Works such as “Kraz” include a plethora of tiny bubbles and disturbances embedded within the glass that form wispy spider webs of clouds and fog. Poetry must be called upon to describe this artist’s work. So consider me convinced. Although I can’t appreciate the process that goes into making glass sculptures in the same way that I can with painting, I can certainly still appreciate the results.
Bruno Romanelli, Dione
Bruno Romanelli, Kraz
If you are also convinced, go check out the new glass sculpture exhibit that is currently open at Ken Saunders Gallery, featuring Jeffrey Sarmiento and José Chardiet. KSG is located at 30 West Superior Street. For more information about the new exhibit, visit their website. For more informatiob about Original Voices and to view the entire catalog, visit the KSG publications.