‘Glass Catalyst’ exhibition to open with June 14 reception at Fine Art Museum

Carol Milne’s “Knit Knot,” kiln-cast lead crystal knitted glass and needles from the collection of the Asheville Art Museum, is included in the “Glass Catalyst” exhibition at WCU. (Image courtesy of the artist)

An exhibition of glass sculpture, “Glass Catalyst: Littleton’s Legacy in Contemporary Sculpture,” will open with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum.

“Celebrating the efforts of Harvey Littleton, one of the greatest proponents of using glass as an expressive medium, the exhibition explores the work of contemporary artists concentrating in glass and how they are building off the foundations laid by Littleton during the early years of the studio glass movement,” said Jill Jacobs, marketing manager for WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

A key work in the exhibition will be a new acquisition for the museum’s collection – a glass sculpture by Littleton titled “Terracotta Arc.” The piece will be unveiled during the reception on June 14, which would have been Littleton’s 96th birthday, Jacobs said. Donated by the Littleton family in honor of WCU Professor Emeritus Joan Falconer Byrd, the sculpture is “a reminder of how Littleton’s impact reverberates through the generations,” Jacobs said.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Alex Bernstein, Carol Milne, Hayden Wilson, Matt Eskuche, Shane Fero, Robert Burch, Carmel Lozar, Carole Freve, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Shayna Leib and Dean Allison.

Born to a physicist who worked at Corning Glass Works, Littleton believed that glass had creative potential outside its applications in industry. In 1962, he led a watershed glass workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art what would eventually spark the creation of glass programs at universities, craft schools and art centers throughout the world.

“Glass Catalyst” will be on display at the Fine Art Museum through Dec. 7. The exhibition at WCU is part of the “Summer of Glass” initiative taking place in conjunction with the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. As part of that initiative, organizations throughout Western North Carolina  are holding exhibitions, tours, workshops and events centered on glass.

For more information, contact Jacobs at jilljacobs@wcu.edu.