Somewhere back in Portland, Oregon, Susan, Janet and a dozen other serious-minded staffers at the Bullseye Glass Company imagine that their leader, Jim – in Chicago for Bullseye Gallery’s showing at SOFA 2009 – is working hard to uphold the supremely professional reputation of the company and the many fine artists its gallery represents.
Wrong. Made irreparably giddy by the fumes of Sherwin-Williams #7048, the normally no-nonsense Mr Jones has been buzzing about the monkey bars all morning, drunkenly painting and repainting the endless corners and angles that make up the skeleton of Michael Rogers’ Beekeeper’s Staircase.
Enough. Stop, Jim!. We’re done. Thank goodness.
Each 75-lb glass tread fits perfectly onto the steel supports and swarms upwards around the Rogers’ corner of the Bullseye booth, their bee imagery bouncing off the artist’s wall- and pedestal-work.
I am struck by the contrast of Rogers’ energetic creations with Jess Loughlin’s serenely meditative surfaces.
I am struck, in fact, by a LOT of stuff in this space. It’s all finally come together after months of planning. At the end of set-up I just wanted to wander around and look at it all from every angle. Here goes….
The opposite end of the Loughlin “plank” plunges like a visual diving board into the vertical glass slabs designed by Giles Bettison (left) and Ted Sawyer (right). To the far left, Catharine Newell’s wall-mounted triptych Murder of Crows.
Among my favorite views: Loughlin design work (foreground) collides with Loughlin artwork (background). It’s a fine line that the artist battled over …and I believe won:
But I need to back up and restate the mission of this year’s Bullseye space: Building with Light: Contemporary Glass Art + Architecture is a project intended to showcase how fine design and art in glass can be designed into space.
In yet another telling contrast, Sawyer’s four-part wall set Notes I-IV sits conventionally against the booth’s back wall until it runs into the return wall which is itself partially glass – and light – built by Sawyer’s 2″ thick glass slab.
Sawyer slab from the front aisle, Note I behind. Where does art end and design begin? We’re all still debating this one…as have others for ages. It’s one discussion among many that we look forward to at SOFA this year.
In the end, that’s what this whole space is to us each year: a stage for conversation, a place to meet, gather and discuss. To promote the potential of the medium and the artists on its leading edge.
PS. For those who each year berate me for my chromophobic tendencies, we are hosting adjacent to the Building With Light space, a solo exhibition of works by our favorite chromophile, master and pioneer of contemporary kiln-glass, Klaus Moje.
Klaus will be with us at SOFA and able to speak more engagingly on his work than my little Canon Powershot can hope to capture.
Now that we’re set to go, I’d like to say….
Thanks to my relentless partner Dan for his engineering (and design) brilliance; to Ted’s and Tom’s team for their long hours of calculating, cutting and firing; to the gallery team (Chris, Jeff, Michael, Ryan, Jamie, and Kay) for their months of preparation; to the inspired sensitivity of all our artists; and to Jim J. for putting up with my jerking him around SOFA Chicago 2009.
Sorry, Jim, the hardest part is still to come.