Glass: Melissa Dyne
An essay by Robert Slifkin, professor of Art History and Humanities at Reed College.
An essay by Kathy High, Chair of the Arts Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.
April 9, 2008, Pacific Northwest College of Art
Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers leads a conversation with Melissa Dyne and discusses past projects, including public art work in Mexico City and a collaborative installation in Hong Kong.
May 6, 2008
Bring your lunch and join artist Melissa Dyne for a casual gathering of coffee and conversation. This month’s topic: How do concept and craft merge in contemporary art practice?
From Idea to Production: Craft in Conceptual Art Making
May 29, 2008
Dyne’s installation serves as the point of departure for a discussion about the relationship between concept-driven art, industry and craft. Moderator: Stephanie Snyder. Panelists: Melissa Dyne, M.K. Guth, Kathy High, Namita Gupta Wiggers.
Exhibition Tour: Robert Slifkin on Glass
June 5, 2008
Robert Slifkin, professor of Art History and Humanities at Reed College, leads a discussion on minimalism and its connection to Melissa Dyne’s installation.
CraftPerspectives Lecture: Vicki Halper
Contrasts: A Glass Primer
June 26, 2008
Vicki Halper, a guest curator at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, presents a lecture delineating the distinctions between craft and art in the studio glass movement. Halper argues for a deeper appreciation of
the use of glass in art and provides a framework through which to view Melissa Dyne’s installation.
Craft PDX Artists Talk: Melissa Dyne
July 13, 2008
Melissa Dyne presents a lecture on her boundary-pushing installation Glass. Breaking down her artistic process, Dyne will show slides of her past work and describe the greater context for her installation.
Craft PDX Panel Discussion
Glass in Portland
July 13, 2008
Get a firsthand account of Portland’s studio glass scene from three local makers. Join Gallery artists Andy Paiko (recently chosen as a Searchlight Artist by the American Crafts Council), Jeremy Newman and Lynn Everett Read for a panel discussion moderated by Kristin Shiga, Extension Program Director at Oregon College of Art and Craft.
May 29, 2008 – August 10, 2008
Curated by: Namita Gupta Wiggers
Craft is often defined in terms of media. Glass, a relative newcomer to the American Craft Movement and studio practice, entered the pantheon of clay, fiber, metal, and wood in the early 1960s when technological changes enabled artists to work with glass outside of the factory environment for the first time. Today, studio glass is perhaps one of the most sought after and collected craft forms in the contemporary art market.
Melissa Dyne’s own experiences do not include any of the studio glass processes one might expect from an artist exhibiting in a museum dedicated to craft. She does not blow, kiln-form, flame-work, or sand-cast glass. Nor does she hire glass artists to fabricate work for her installation. In fact, her only physical experience with manipulating glass by hand involves grinding and fabricating lenses for optical systems.
For this project, Melissa Dyne uses one of the most common forms of glass in daily life – the window pane – as both object and the subject of a site-specific installation. Dyne turns to industry, employing specially engineered skyscraper glass produced by Benson Industries, a Portland-based company founded in 1923. Glass producers for some of the largest skyscrapers in the world, Benson has developed a method of “skinning” a building where the glass supports its own weight. This allows architects to create new building forms; for example, a structure that resembles a crushed piece of paper or the latest iteration of a “crystal palace.” Dyne rotates a piece of this Benson Industries-produced glass in opposition to its normal and intended vertical position. Draped over a wall, a pane of 5 × 11 foot glass is being pushed to bend by its own weight. The glass will move until it reaches stasis or ruptures. If, and when, it breaks, the shards will remain part of the exhibition, and a second piece installed to continue the process.
Dyne’s installation draws parallels between the warehouse as a site of industrial production, and the culturally charged contemporary art space (the “White Cube”). This exhibition turns the Museum into a laboratory for open ended questions – which is not unlike the process engineers, architects and designers engage during product research and development for industry.
Unlike most exhibitions at craft museums, Dyne’s project is non-commercial and open-ended. The glass is a performer in a shared experience, not an object to take home, which raises critical questions. In commissioning this site-specific installation from Melissa Dyne, the Museum challenges the media-specific categorization that happens in the craft arena. Is this a valid way to continue to define craft? How can non-studio glass be considered “craft” – and if so, why? Through Glass, the Museum seeks to open dialogue and provoke new language about contemporary visual practice across art, craft, design and industry. Must craft result in an object, or is it possible to engage ideas about craft through a process-oriented art practice?
The artist and Museum would like to thank the following individuals and companies for their assistance and guidance in the development of this project: Benson Industries, Ed Carpenter, Joel Garcia, Kathy High, The Jacobs Group, Jörg Jakoby, Chris Lowry, Steve Mangold, Khaela Maricich, Lia Mills, Cris Moss, Tina Oldnow, Robert Slifkin and Simon Tomkinson.