Michael Glancy, American, born 1950. Sterling Convergence, 2002. Engraved blown glass, engraved industrial plate glass, copper, silver. 8 1/2 × 12 × 12 in. (21.6 × 30.5 × 30.5 cm). Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation L2017.53

Hybrid: Glass + Metal

February 16, 2019 - June 16, 2019

Harris - Burger Gallery

Glass and metal come together in unexpected ways in this exhibition—one material is known for its strength, the other is known for its fragility. Each artist featured in Hybrid: Glass + Metal explores the possibilities of these two materials in creative ways. 

In the early 1970s, Mary Shaffer, an early practitioner of the American studio glass movement, adapted an auto industry technique for shaping windshield glass into her own mid-air slumping process. Sheets or chunks of glass are heated into a plastic state, then allowed to slump, or sag, around a metal element. She used iron wire, rusty tools, sheet metal, anything that could endure the heat of the kiln. The outcome is glass that gracefully drapes in a state akin to fabric while the metal remains in its strong, rigid state. 

Shaffer’s work reveals a fascination with the effects and manipulation of viscosity, leverage, balance, inertia, mass, and space. She explains her process as a dichotomy of feminine and masculine principles: “Because I work with gravity… I say I work with nature. I call this the ‘female principle’ in the Jungian sense—the idea of joining forces with nature versus the 19th century attitude of ‘man over nature.’ This is the fundamental philosophy behind my work.”

Other artists in this exhibition include Bella Feldman, Kyohei Fujita, Michael Glancy, Masami Koda, Albert Paley, Richard Ritter, Sally Rogers, Ginny Ruffner, Howard Ben Tré, Janusz Walentynowicz, and Albert Young.

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Elliott Jamal Robbins, American, born 1988. Snow White Clapping, 2018. 2:00 minutes. Courtesy of the Artist and Kai Matsumiya Gallery

Snow White Clapping

May 1, 2019 - May 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

Elliott Jamal Robbins casts his protagonist as the embodiment of a boy, circumscribed by the trappings of representation, queerness, and race. In the film, Robbins fuses a series of frames from Disney’s Snow White with hand-drawn, virtual armature of a black body. The figure claps in silence; perhaps at an audience or perhaps an individual spectator. Robbins creates an ambiguity between subject and identity, and also between viewer and gaze. He writes of his work, “Through the use of appropriated and self-generated imagery and text, as well as the inclusion of the black male cartooned figure, the viewer is presented with a disjointed narrative. The narrative in question is an exploration of the intersection of societal reading of a black body, as well as subject experience, and the dichotomies to be found between.” Robbins is a graduate of the University of Arizona (MFA 2017). He lives and works in Tucson.

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Paul Signac, French, 1863 - 1935. Zinnias and Marigolds, ca. 1911 – 1915. Watercolor on paper. 13 x 15 1/4 in. (33 x 38.7 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Ryerson 1939.2

Still Modern

April 20, 2019 - July 14, 2019

Graphics Gallery

Still life artworks depict inanimate objects, such as fruit, flowers, and vessels. This genre of art has been employed by artists for centuries, but the subject gained popularity in the late 16th century in the Netherlands through Dutch painters. The subject matter continued to fascinate artists throughout the 20th century, with modern artists, such as Marc Chagall, Serge Charchoune, and Roy Lichtenstein, adapting new ways and methods of depicting the traditional genre. This exhibition features works on paper (prints and watercolors) from the 20th to 21st century that depicts still lifes. Artists in this exhibition such as Audrey Flack, Janet Fish, and Jane Goldman show the ways the subject has been continually reinvented to portray scenes of modern life.

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Baccarat, French, Garland on white "stardust" carpet ground, mid-19th century. Glass, 2 3/16 x 3 3/16 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards, 1969.75.51

Small Worlds

April 7, 2018 - October 27, 2019

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

On May 17, 2019, the Paperweight Collectors Association (PCA) will visit the FIA as part of their biannual conference, happening this year in Dearborn, Michigan. The PCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to appreciating and collecting glass paperweights. Their mission is to promote education by increasing knowledge about paperweights, their creators, and the astounding glass medium from which they are created. FIA Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Tracee Glab will be the keynote speaker during the conference. During their time at the FIA, they will tour the Small Worlds exhibition and view demonstrations in the FIA Hot Shop and Flameworking Studio. 

During the planning stages of the conference, contemporary paperweight artist Cathy Richardson visited the FIA to see its facilities. This trip inspired her to donate one of her paperweights to the museum. Her paperweight, Homage to Margaret Mee, was inspired by the botanical artist of the same name. Mee was a British environmentalist artist whose work is now part of the London’s Royal Botanical Gardens collection.

Richardson created this paperweight by lampworking the botanical creatures on the inside, and using intaglio for the accents. Intaglio is a form of design/decoration where the picture is below the surface of the glass. This effect may be achieved by cutting away the glass to form the shape of the design, or by pressing the molten glass into a mold. 


Now Available

Paperweights: Highlights from the Flint Institute of Arts Collection

(hardcover; 248 pages; $24.95)

This exhibition catalog features more than 140 weights from the Classic Period (1845–1860) of French manufacturers Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint-Louis, to works by contemporary artists Josh Simpson and Debbie Tarsitano, from the collections of Mrs. Viola E. Bray and Mrs. Genevieve Shaw. Kathryn Sharbaugh, FIA Director of Development, serves as guest curator to research and write about the history of paperweights, as well as highlight their various styles, techniques, and categories. This book is published in conjunction with the exhibition Small Worlds, which presents a survey of glass paperweights from the 19th century to the present. Support for the catalogue provided by the Bray Charitable Trust.

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