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Glass Studio Visiting Artist: Hank Murta Adams

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Hank Murta Adams, Herman, cast glass and copper, 2003. Private collection. © Hank Murta Adams.

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Hank Murta Adams shown with his "ocupatto" works. It's a technique where glass is blown into a metal mold, but the visual interest comes in the piercings of the forms and the molten glass that is extruded through the openings. Do not try this at home: The tin cans must be carefully pre-treated before the glass is blown.

Hank Murta Adams is one of the most imaginative, experimental, and collectible glass artists working today.

As a RISD student ('78) he was painting portraits and landscapes before he met Dale Chihuly. That led him to glass studies at Pilchuck, Penland, and the Appalachian Center for Craft.

He developed a style that mixed humor with undertones of madness or cynicism, subversion or sadness. His signature heads often appear as if the nerves are on the outside. As one reviewer put it, his works are "heroic in scale, but anti-heroic in character."

Born in Philadelphia in 1956, Murta is currently the Glass Studio Creative Director at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, N.J.

For More Information

• During Art of Glass 2 in 2009, Adams' work was featured in Virginia Beach at what's now known as the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. You can watch it here.

Here's a video produced for People's Light & Theater in Malvern, Pa., where he discusses creating a glass work for a stage set. The artistic director for the project was his sister.

• And finally, a look at a really interesting 2015 exhibition at Wheaton. It was called Emanation: Art + Process, and as Adams says in the piece, it's "not just about a hot process. It's about ideas."