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Our House: Recent Works in Glass by Joel O’Dorisio

The Carnegie Center is pleased to present the exhibition Our House: Recent Works in Glass by Joel O’Dorisio, on display June 1 through July 28, 2012. Through the artworks in this exhibit, Joel O’Dorisio explores the relationship between his fascination with the inherent wonder of the natural landscape and the contrived beauty of the city. The artist writes, “From an early age I have wrestled with the fact that aspects of both worlds please me. Yet, under most circumstances, nature and urban civilization do not coexist peacefully.” To achieve a balance between these disparate elements, O’Dorisio creates molds of the bark from different types of trees that he then incorporates into cast glass sculptures. The resulting artworks have strong architectural references through their linear forms and arrangements, which often resemble building blocks or structural framing.

The title of the exhibit, Our House, references both the traditional meaning of “house” as a shelter and the concept of our environment as a “house.” The environment provides the resources we need, such as trees and plants, for shelter and sustenance, yet it is also the very thing that we need shelter from during storms and natural disasters. O’Dorisio writes, “Ultimately everything we consume is drawn from the earth. Our House is an effort to re-link the concept of environment and shelter in the digital age and start a conversation about how we view our place in the world.”

He continues, “I use my work to explore cultural tidal zones. I am fascinated with that tiny area where two fundamentally different worlds of nature and man meet and interact with each other. I combine rough organic textures from trees or stone with smooth machined architectural forms in glass. Each sculpture is a quiet metaphor of the interaction of humanity and the natural world. With the crystal series [in the exhibit] I use optically pure glass to create a theatre within the glass for light to play. As a viewer moves around the piece reflections appear and disappear, bringing elements of the organic texture directly into the facets, but only temporarily. My series of colored work explores many of the same concepts; however, I use more formal sculptural elements of line, texture, and volume to express this interaction. Glass allows me to use light, and the density of color as light moves through different areas, to create volume and space within a solid form.”

Joel O’Dorisio (www.joelodo.com) is an artist/sculptor internationally recognized for his traditional blown glasswork and cast sculptural glass. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in New York. In 1998, he opened Lost Angel Glass, his own glass studio and gallery in Corning, NY. Since 2008, he has been an Instructor in the Chapman Community at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. O’Dorisio’s work has been represented at The International Exposition of Sculptural Objects and Functional Art. His work is in numerous public and private collections, and has been exhibited in museums such as The Toledo Museum of Art, The Carnegie Museum of Art and The Museum of American Glass. He has received national awards for his design of both blown and cast glass. In his work, he is currently combining video and traditional sculpture to create artificial environments that explore the interaction between humanity and the natural world.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the development of studio glass in the United States, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft is currently featuring the exhibit 50 Years of Studio Glass, on display through July 1, 2012 (please visit www.kentuckyarts.org).