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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Memorable Glass of Judith Schaechter

Two years ago I attended the Glass Art Society conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  There were a few parts that particularly stood out to me.  One was the auction--actually, just the set up for the auction--such a variety of spectacular pieces of glass art.  The other was the notable lack of speakers and presenters in the areas of fused, torch worked and stained glass art, despite an over abundance of blown glass representation. There were also several workshops I attended that have stuck in my mind.  One of those was a group discussion about the future of the glass art industry.

I'm sorry to say that I couldn't name the other panelists even if you offered me $1,000,000  (and believe me, that would motivate me to do so) off the top of my head--I could in fact, look it up I suppose.  But, without prompting, I do remember Judith Schaechter.  She was one of the few stained glass artists  featured as a speaker in a sea of blown glass artists.  And her work is phenomenal.

My personal favorite is her "Multiplication Table."

(c) Judith Schaechter, "Multiplication Table," used by permission of the artist.

When I view her work, I often see dark, dreamlike images. The people in her artwork are often distorted and stretched in a odd way.
(c) Judith Schaechter, "Agnus Dei," used by permission of the artist.

(c) Judith Schaechter, "Joan of Arc," used by permission of the artist.

(c) Judith Schaechter, "Mad Meg", used by permission of the artist.

(c) Judith Schaechter, "Sin Eater", used by permission of the artist.

In recent years, I've seen a definite turn with many artists toward dark, odd, sometimes unpleasant and occasionally downright disturbing subject matter.  Scheachter's work borders on the disturbing side in a near meeting of Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton dreamlike sequences.  Of special appeal to me personally, they often seem to have a spiritual bent to them as well.  And the detail she achieves is extraordinary.  Take for example, "Specimens" (below).

(c) Judith Schaechter "Specimens," used by permission of the artist.

Schaechter has quite justifiably earned several fellowships, has had numerous solo gallery shows and been a part of many group shows.  Most of those shows have been at less well known locations. It certainly seems to me that the world is ready for her works' unveiling at larger venues.  It is my opinion that the art world would devour (in a good way) this artwork in a feeding frenzy once they got wind of it.  She teaches, writes and clearly is a leader (however it might be reluctantly?) of the stained glass art world by creating modern, relevant, sometimes surreal glass panels.  She is sure to continue to be a force in the glass art world, shaping and guiding stained glass to include not just the traditional, but embracing modern design and subject matter. I anticipate seeing more of her work as her career continues to gain momentum, particularly with glass art collectors.

Text (c)SZing, 2012.  All photographs and artwork in this blog entry (c) Judith Schaechter, used by written permission.