“There are many types of beauty,” says Ted Sawyer. “Some are dazzling and easy. Some are less obvious or even difficult.” Sawyer is compelled by the latter form of beauty. These types “require us to move slowly… to move away from what we know towards what we might reject.” In rift (2015), textured rectangular strips of vertically aligned kilnformed glass create a toothy orifice through which an inviting, reddish glow emanates. Sawyer’s work seeks beauty in decay and dissolution by combining sumptuous colors with somatic, pockmarked surfaces and shifting tectonic forms.
In another series of works Sawyer uses color gradients that take advantage of the transparency of glass. Applied to both sides of clear sheet glass, powdered glass overlaps, creating unexpected colors and depth. Matter (2015) consists of green and grey clouds floating in front of a diaphanous pink. The result can at first be jarring, recalling images of gas clouds or a depiction of miasma. It is through consideration that one begins to notice the subtle shifts in value and hue. Sawyer explains that this “difficult” beauty is “only apprehended when what is broken becomes whole in a new way, when perfection is achieved via imperfection.”
Sawyer received his BA in ceramics from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. From 1992–1993 he was the artist-in-residence at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland. In 1997 he joined Bullseye, where he is the Director of Research & Education. Sawyer teaches and lectures internationally and directs the production of Bullseye’s online educational videos. His glass work – featured in Corning’s New Glass Review 28, 30, 31, 35, and 37 (2016) – is exhibited at galleries and museums around the world, including Bullseye Projects.