Monday, December 03, 2012

Echt Gallery - Chicago

Last week I had the opportunity to visit a few galleries in Chicago. By far my favorite was Echt Gallery, which specializes in glass art.

Janusz Walentynowicz
Raised Still Life with Two Decanters & Vase
Peering in the front windows, I found mysterious dark gallery walls with large white cast glass sculptures by Janusz Walentynowicz spotlighted elegantly on pedestals around the room.  The sculptures fell into two general categories. Still life pieces featured low reliefs on the thin pedestals and foreshortened 3D vases or decanters on top, while the other pieces imitated intertwining pipe and fittings. Although I loved the white pieces, I was captivated by the single black still life which showed the relief carvings much more clearly. Obviously I wasn't the only one enamored with it, as it was sold.

Toots Zynsky
I wandered around the studio admiring the marks on white Chihuly cylinders and the hair thin glass threads and elegant form of a subtle white Toots Zynsky vessel (such a change from her earlier vivid colors).

Shayna Leib
As usual, I was thrilled by the complex cane work of Shayna Leib's reef inspired works.

Christina Bothwell
But by far the most compelling work in the gallery for me that day was the mixed media sculpture of Christina Bothwell, who combines complex cast glass with raku clay and found objects. It's hard to convey the depth and subtlety of these pieces onscreen. Buried deep within the glass are other sculptures, dimly seen, and the surface itself has been painted with oils to add even more layers, and the raku clay seamlessly melds with the glass. Completely captivating.