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Reflections in Art

Wayne Art Center Exhibits Glass Sculpture from Regional Artists

The large sculpture that loomed in the center of the glass-glistening gallery truly reflected the artist's vision and the amazed expressions on all who glanced upon it. "This is stunning!" exclaimed a woman admiring Christopher Ries's Spring, a marvel of lead crystal with pristine pink hues as vibrant as the season it evokes.

The $220,000 sculpture is one of the larger pieces of "Reflections in Glass," an invitational exhibition of glass art on display through Jan. 23 in the Wayne Art Center's Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Gallery. The exhibit is in conjunction with Craft Forms 2009, the 15th international juried exhibition of contemporary crafts now on display in the center's Davenport Gallery.

"Reflections in Glass" showcases 33 regional artists whose work on display includes kilnformed, blown, cast, lamp-worked, engraved, slumped, painted and mixed with other media Objects take the form of abstract sculpture, jewelry, vases and bowls among many objects.

The curator for the exhibition is Arlene Silvers, director of glass events at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. "She selected all the artists for the exhibit," said Nancy Campbell, the Wayne Art Center's executive director. Her selections represent a wide range of techniques used by today's glass artists.

The exhibition's anchor pieces are three towering sculptures by Wilkes-Barre-area artist Christopher Ries. The sculptures, Spring, Desert Flower and Harmony, are made with flawless engraved optic lead crystal and take on an ethereal quality as the viewer encounters a plethora of visual impressions and prisms depending on the angle and reflection of light. His works are owned by major corporations and art museums as well as by such well-known folks as former model Cindy Crawford, singer Lionel Richie, former senator and space explorer John Glenn and Gov. Ed Rendell. But come with a deep pocket if you intend to take one of Ries's grand sculptures home with you. Harmony sells for $80,000, Desert Flower $152,000 and Spring $220,000.

Other exhibitors' pieces on display include the patriotic, Philadelphia resident Miles Van Rensselaer's Wait (in response to 9/11), an American flag held in extended hands; the functional, Aliquippa, Pa. resident Milissa Montini's Meditation Bench; and the whimsical, North Wales resident Pat Owens' dancing figures in
Night Life.

This is the second year for a curated companion exhibition to Craft Forms (last year's companion exhibit featured wood artwork). This year Craft Forms features 99 artists exhibiting crafts in metal, wood, glass, clay, fiber and mixed media. Campbell pointed out that Craft Forms attracts established and emerging artists from throughout the country and abroad (this year's list includes Korea and Tasmania). In fact the juror, Bruce W. Pepich, executive director and curator of collections of the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, had the daunting task of selecting from more than 900 entries from all over the world. "They really look forward to this show; it has national exposure," pointed out Campbell about Craft Form's artists.

© 2001-2015 Christopher Ries