New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim
For Release: October 5, 2012
The Akron Art Museum is joining dozens of Ohio museums and galleries in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement in the United States. New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim features two artists at the forefront of contemporary glassmaking and pays tribute to the pioneering spirit of the movement’s founders.
Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim are Cleveland artists who have developed diverging and highly personal techniques that expand our understanding of the possibilities for glass. Young pioneered a technique of flameworking thin glass rods to build monumental works of airy lightness, whereas Kim uses the kiln casting process to transform discarded Styrofoam into sculpture.
Together the artists share an interest in building up forms from smaller segments and exploring the negative space between those sections.
The interplay of multiple gaps, voids and openings contained in the artworks and the varying degrees of transparency in the material create fascinating dialogues between the two artists’ work. Both Young and Kim draw on the techniques and innovations of the past to create works that reflect on the complexities of the present. Just like the pioneers of the studio glass movement, these artists are constantly inventing new glassmaking techniques to realize their personal artistic vision.
The exhibition will feature work from Young’s Matrix series and Kim’s Rediscovery series, both of which are ongoing.
In the Matrix series, Young explores an interest in “the ambiguous nature of glass and the sense of space and volume one can create.” Many of the works in the series, such as Portal of Gods…A Diptych, evoke associations with ancient monuments, while others recall such domestic objects as vases and vessels. Though the shapes are familiar, the openness of the lattice structure that supports the form clearly distinguishes the artwork from the artifact that inspired it.
Kim’s Rediscovery series stems from the discovery of a distinctive piece of discarded Styrofoam from an Apple computer container. The artist states, “This material has a vital role in the economic machine but ultimately it becomes trash, waste.... I think that the packaging has value as an object itself.” He uses these found Styrofoam pieces to make molds for glass, which he casts in a kiln and then assembles into sculpture. By transforming disposable materials into objects of contemplation, Kim reveals the beauty imbedded in ordinary items.
For New Artifacts Kim also created two expansive wall compositions made of dozens of small glass pieces molded from broken-off sections of Styrofoam. These works function as “contemporary artifacts” by reflecting the consuming habits of today's society.
In 1962, Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino organized a glass workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art to explore the possibility of small-scale, independent glass production. Their efforts resulted in what is now known as the studio glass movement. Outside of the factory setting, glass artists have been free to experiment with form and technique, producing unique artworks that transcend any distinction between art and craft.
As the Akron Art Museum looks back on fifty years of art glass, we reflect on our own role in the movement, with major exhibitions of William Morris, Dale Chihouly and Paul Stankard, and the recent acquisition of the nation’s largest public collection of Paul Stankard’s glass sculptures. We continue that tradition with our latest exhibition of contemporary glass, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim.
Brent Kee Young is a professor and department head at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Sungsoo Kim is an adjunct professor at Cleveland Institute of Art and Kent State University.
Friday, October 26, 2012, 7 – 9 pm
Join Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim at the museum opening night to hear them informally speak about their artwork.
Artist Panel Discussion
Thursday February 28, 2013, 7 pm
Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim will discuss the technique and inspiration behind their work and the history of the American studio glass movement. The seating is free and available first come first seated in the museum’s Lehner Auditorium.
This exhibition was organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by a gift from the Ohio Arts Council, Mike and Annie Belkin and Henry H. Hawley.
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