Best known for his glass vessels, Lino Tagliapietra has also devoted himself to realizing two-dimensional glass works that match the scale and complexity of paintings. While these large-scale abstract panels may initially be read as paintings on canvas, closer inspection reveals they have been made of kiln-fused glass that captures and transmits light. This exhibition highlights five vibrant works from his panel series, the culmination of a lifetime spent learning how the union of glass and heat unleashes a rare, transformative power.
Born in 1934 on the Venetian island of Murano, Tagliapietra earned the title of maestro (master) at the age of 21. He has become famous for his expertise in blowing glass into expressive forms that take the stretching and twisting of molten glass to new heights. From mixing his own colors to reimagining traditional methods to create new effects in blown glass, Tagliapietra has never been content to stay in one place, in his art or in his life.
In 1979 Tagliapietra traveled to the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, where he shared closely guarded glassblowing techniques with eager American students. He was welcomed into the American glass community, where, unlike in the glasshouses of Murano, individuality was celebrated. His first experiences in the US inspired him to pursue his unique vision, which marries complex colors with elaborate, abstract patterning that celebrates the cultures and places to which his extensive travels have taken him. Though he now demonstrates his techniques around the world, he divides his time between Seattle and Murano, which can be seen as the twin poles of his career.