books, Reading, Women Writers

“Glass Art” by Barbara Purchia and E. Ashley Rooney


“Glass is a mixture of 80 percent Mother Nature, 10 percent alchemy, and 10 percent magic – a universal blend found eloquently splashed throughout the pages of this book.”

Having studied (very briefly and with an admirable lack of talent) glassmaking in college, I have nurtured a love of glass art for the past 20 years. I was thrilled, therefore, to find “Glass Art” by Barbara Purchia and E. Ashley Rooney on a recent perusal of upcoming releases.

Purchia and Rooney feature 112 contemporary glass artists, allowing each to display a small selection of their work and a brief commentary on their art. Because each artist is represented in her or his own voice, the narrative portions of this book are inconsistent and vary widely in quality. But as an “art book”, one in which the primary objective is to awaken an interest in visual objects, the work is simultaneously fluid and solid, just like the art it features.

“Glass is solid but fragile, dense but fluid. It hovers between the concrete world and the world of light. Much like a living organism, it contains contradictions, yet maintains harmony and balance.”

Purchia and Rooney have selected a wide array of artists, each with a distinct point of view, employing a broad scope of techniques, to represent an enigmatically beautiful art form.

“People think that artists actively choose to become artists. It’s not a matter of choice. We are compelled. If there is such a thing as a gift, the gift is to participate in the universal force of creation. It’s to muster enough courage to release oneself and slip the surly bonds of consciousness – to enter the realm of selflessness. It’s leaving behind will and control and allowing the mind to drift into the ether of the eternal.”

“Glass Art” is a fine compendium that would be much improved by a stronger authorial and editorial presence to make it more compelling and cohesive. As it stands, it is an alphabetical selection of slides with little narrative and an absence of curatorial strategy.

Thank you to Schiffer and Edelweiss for providing a complimentary Advanced Review Copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. 


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