Jaume Plensa produces monumental sculptures in steel, glass, marble, polyester resin, concrete, and bronze. He is best known for his Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millenium Park, two 50-foot-high glass towers set amidst a pool of water, which play giant video portraits of Chicago residents that periodically purse their lips and spout water into the pool.
Predominantly producing figurative sculpture, Plensa has created larger-than-life-sized heads constructed of fine, stainless-steel wire mesh so that their surrounding environments are visible through the works, and bronze figures cast from his own body.
New York based Ayumi Shibata imagines delicate paper cities, entirely cut out by hand and installed into glass containers. She uses traditional methods of Japanese paper cutting to create miniature cities within vessels of glass. Her chosen materials reference the delicate relationship humans have with our environment and natural forces of our world.
Buenos Aires-based artist Leandro Erlich’s “Single Cloud Collection” gives us a surreal taste of what capturing a cloud in glass would look like. Using the artistic method of layering, Erlich’s sculptural pieces are given a three-dimensionality. Each “captured cloud” is the illusionary result of numerous panes of glass that are individually embellished with acrylics.
Erlich plays with an audience’s visual senses. The artist forces viewers to rethink the way they see things. Like a true magician, he leaves one to question the impossibility of something. What appears to be a three-dimensional anomaly seems to be true based on sensory observation, but, ultimately, is just an illusion.
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand based Ben Young is a self-taught artist who has been making glass sculpture for over 15 years. Each of Young’s sculptural works are hand drawn, hand cut and handcrafted from clear sheet float glass, then laminated layer upon layer to create the final form. He constructs models, draws templates, makes custom jigs and then cuts the layers with a glazier’s hand-tool.
Young’s current work explores the use of industrial materials to compliment the organic glass shapes. He liked the idea that concrete is a basic construction material, and also the physical and visual contrasts between the textures and colors of both materials. Still noticeably influenced by the ocean and bodies of water – the concrete forms have become an integral part of his art forms as have the small bronze carvings which he sculpts initially from wax and uses to help portray the narrative suggested by his landscapes.
German artist Wilfried Grootens paints extraordinary figures comprised of dots and tendrils sandwiched between dozens of laminate glass layers. These strangely precise optical float paintings take on the form of some fantastic microscopic creatures and are sometimes reminiscent of the photos depicting the milliseconds before a nuclear explosion.
Glass is a 1958 non-verbal documentary short by Bert Haanstra that contrasts glassblowing techniques used inside the Royal Leerdam Glass Factory with more modern industrial machines. The first half shows several men at work using traditional glassblowing to create ornate objects like vases and mugs set against jazz music, while the second part shifts abruptly into the mechanized world of industrial glass production set to a whimsical score of more synthesized music.
Japanese artist Taisuke Mohri’s Cracked Portrait series sees the artist’s pencil drawings displayed beneath cracked panes of real glass.
Mohri is a master of detailed pencilwork, and he combines his ability for photorealism with a surrealist flair to create incredibly haunting, masterful images. Mohri overlays his pencil drawings with a pane of cracked class, calling them “material cracks,” pushing the artwork to the edge of something existent in reality and something imagined.