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Exhibition Explores Vitreography, Prints Made From Glass Plates

NORFOLK, Va. (April 11, 2017) —Vitreography is the process of making prints with glass plates, unlike traditional plates of metal or wood. It's an art form that gained traction in the United States about 30 years ago at the famed Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, and the Chrysler is pleased to mount the first large-scale exhibition of these works.

Click to enlarge

Ruben Toledo
Pilchuck, Summer Heat Wave

Screenprint with hand painting
© Ruben Toledo
Courtesy Pilchuck Glass School
Click to enlarge.

Pilchuck Prints features works by artists from around the world, all created during their time at the venerable glass school. The exhibition opens to the public in the Museum's Frank Photography Galleries (G. 228) on April 21 and remains on view through Sept. 17, 2017. Admission is free.

Printmaking emerged at Pilchuck Glass School thanks to the influence of two individuals. Harvey Littleton, a Studio Glass movement pioneer, taught vitreography (printing from glass plates) at Pilchuck in 1987, and Elizabeth Tapper, a Pacific Northwest artist, shared her printmaking expertise at the school.

In 1990, Pilchuck purchased a press with funds raised by students and established a permanent Print Shop named in Tapper's honor. Nearly three decades later, the Print Shop—one of eight art studios on the campus outside of Seattle—continues to use printmaking to deepen and expand Pilchuck's ongoing commitment to glass.

Pilchuck Prints is the first large-scale exhibition of these of rarely seen prints. Planned with the assistance of Pilchuck's Artistic Director, Tina Aufiero, the exhibition represents more than 50 artists, including Aufiero herself, Terry Adkins, Jane Bruce, Squeak Carnwath, Nick Cave, Dale Chihuly, Judy Chicago, Mona Hatoum, Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace, Stanislav Libensky, Maya Lin, Paul Marioni, Richard Marquis, Tony Oursler, Judith Schaechter, Italo Scango, Kiki Smith, Akio Takamori, Oiva Toikka, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, and Ann Wolff.

Transferring drawings to colorless glass is a relatively simple process, and ink does not react with glass as it does with metal, leaving colors bright and true. Cutting or carving a fixed image into a glass plate allows for the production of an edition of prints, and the strength of the material helps it withstand both the pressure of the press and wear from repeated use.

A broad range of students, instructors, and artists-in-residence, both established and emerging artists, helped form the Pilchuck print collection. Some responded to the school's idyllic natural setting. Others focused on the translation of 3-D forms to 2-D prints. Many explored a variety of processes—from painting and Xerox transfers to embossing and the use of raised, printed substrates to create patterns. Together, this collection of prints reveals Pilchuck's approach to integrating glass into the wider field of contemporary art.

"It is a real privilege to be working with Pilchuck Glass School to exhibit this body of work that examines the use of glass as a print matrix," says Diane Wright, Barry Curator of Glass. "The school has a long history of attracting distinguished and talented artists, many of whom have worked in the Print Shop, then donated their work to the permanent collection. We are pleased to be presenting many of the prints to the public for the first time."

The exhibition, says Seth Feman, acting Curator of Photography and co-curator of the show, is broken into sections that explore the varied inspirations of Pilchuck's environment:

  • Experimentation with printing processes, especially the use of glass plates as a printing matrix.
  • The relationship between the 2-D print and 3-D formats in which many of these artists work.
  • The influence of the school's visiting artist series, which brought to Pilchuck artists who did not specialize in glass so that they could investigate its use as an artistic medium.

Within the exhibition, Wright and Feman also included several 3-D and sculptural glass works of art from the Chrysler's permanent collection. These objects are paired with prints made at Pilchuck by the same artist, giving a more complete view of their aesthetic vision, processes, and work in glass specifically.

Pilchuck Printsis one of several glass exhibitions mounted during spring and summer 2017 to coordinate with the Glass Art Society's annual conference, hosted by the Chrysler Museum of Art and its Glass Studio June 1–3, 2017. Not only are some of the artists represented in the Museum collection, but many who produced prints at Pilchuck have worked, lectured, taught, or performed at the Chrysler's Perry Glass Studio since its inception in November 2011.

Pilchuck Prints will be on view in the Chrysler's Frank Photography Galleries (G. 228) from the evening of April 20 through September 17, 2017. General admission is free.


Contact Amber Kennedy
(757) 340-7425

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