Painters and Printmakers: Found in Translation

Bridging the divide between glass and the fine arts, Bullseye’s recent project with painters and printmakers puts glass art in a new light for the Found in Translation exhibition at The Bullseye Connection Gallery, February 5 – March 20, 2004.

Portland, OR – When a group of painters and printmakers convened to begin an exploration in kilnformed glass at the Bullseye Glass factory Research and Education Department in November 2003, no one, perhaps especially the artists, was certain of what to expect. The project put the materials of colored glass sheet, powders, frits and threads into the hands of the artists who reworked them in kilns at temperatures between 1250° - 1500°F.

Judy Cooke’s use of the sheet glass scraps so often discarded by the classically-trained glassworker harkened back to her 1970’s paintings involving old tarps and salvaged industrial objects. With this as her primary material, she was able to focus on the formal concerns of her usual work, those of shape, line, edge, and color to create works that appear almost as schematics for stacking found objects.

Martha Pfanschmidt, who admitted to “loving the line” in the making of her print work, reinterpreted the element using thin glass threads called stringers. She put an emphasis on depth and transparency in her highly patterned colorful half-inch-thick glass panels. The visual texture of the works hint at the patterning often found in her mezzotints.

Eric Stotik, a highly facile draftsman whose small paintings often reflect a Renaissance-style mastery of detail, manipulated fields and lines that he composed of glass powder to create small, haunting panels reminiscent of woodcuts. The resulting works have a luminosity that underscores the medieval-to-modern iconography.

Mark Zirpel, an accomplished printmaker and occasional head of the Pilchuck Glass School print shop, took the least glossy approach to the material. His studies on formative phenomena and the relationship of time to light take advantage of relatively low-temperature firings to create dusty lunar surfaces on muted white panels.

A search for the less obvious - and less “pretty” - qualities of glass partly underlies Ted Sawyer's work. Using glass to depict the formal, emotional, and sensual qualities of an aging industrial landscape calls into question not only the material identity of the work itself, but also how the material is normally used in artistic expression.

In the end what was found in this project was another voice not only for these artists but also for glass itself. The artists were able to explore transparency, light, and physical depth in ways not possible in their normal media, and the glass proved that it can participate in the larger conversation of Art.

For more information please contact Rebecca Rockom by phone at 503-227-0222 or by email at

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January 12, 2004