Artyard (1251 South Pearl Street, 303-777-3219) is currently hosting 1500 degrees, an unusual exhibit that showcases a body of recent work by Susan Meyer (formerly Susan Meyer Fenton). The pieces were all made while Meyer was an emerging artist in residence at the famous Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State.
Artyard's front room has been painted two different shades of yellowish green to set off the black welded-steel tables and shelves with plate-glass tops on which Meyer's pâte de verre pieces are displayed (see detail, above). Meyer has used lace doilies cast in wax to create the glass pieces that lie flat on the glass tops of the tables and shelves. She created the glass pâte using granules of mostly clear glass fired in a kiln -- hence the show's title.
The idea of using glass to make translucent if not transparent doilies is a very good one, since doilies themselves are redolent with narrative and even feminist political meaning. But one attribute of glass that Meyer has pushed to the breaking point, literally, is fragility. Several of the doilies were obviously broken or cracked in the kiln or just after being taken out, which is a pressing technical problem she urgently needs to solve if she's going to pursue this type of work.
Meyer has also covered the walls of Artyard with transfer prints made from the wax-covered doilies that are a by-product of the making of the pâte de verre pieces. The prints, the glass doilies and the iron-and-glass furniture all work beautifully together.
Supplementing Meyer's show is a wall installation by Jeff Starr called Deep Storage, in which multicolored rectangular resin blocks encase abstract figures made of Sculpey clay. Some may be surprised to see the famous local painter displaying sculpture, but he's done it before. Starr uses the sculpted figures as models for his paintings.
Both shows close on May 15.
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