Lino Tagliapietra is best known as one of the world’s preeminent glassblowers. He imbues each of his vessels with a rare elegance and intelligence. The contours of his Dinosaurs turn gracefully, his avventurine works dazzle, and each new series of Tagliapietra’s demands not only renewed contemplation of great beauty, but also renewed reflection on the locus of Lino’s work in terms of history, tradition, and inspiration.
A Maestro of Glass since age twenty-one, Lino Tagliapietra has kept us admiring and thinking with every twist of the blowpipe for over sixty years. Recently, however, the artist surprised us in a new way, diverging from blown glass to explore a new method within his dedicated medium. As always, Tagliapietra reveals both his mastery of and ability to seamlessly reinvent traditional techniques, employing murrini and cane in the creation of works that read as glass paintings, or more properly, constitute kiln-fused glass panels.
Lino Tagliapietra’s panels have garnered many comparisons to paintings by artists like Rothko, Klimt, and Van Gogh, placing Tagliapietra’s work in conversation with that of Western Civilization’s greatest painters. Though a Modernist aesthetic presents itself throughout the body of Lino’s work, perhaps his Modernism is most easily sensed in what could be considered one of the glass artist’s most experimental, or unconventional, series.
His panels represent risk, a new way of seeing, unyielding exploration, and an unquenchable vitality that pushes past fear and apprehension. As Lino said of his panels, “it’s a big effort with myself to go and explore in this direction. It feels a bit scary to go to the gallery with work like this. But it’s a huge opportunity…”
We are grateful and humbled to be able to watch as the Maestro transcends conventions and limitations. Lino Tagliapietra inspires with his work, but also with his immense talent, unparalleled dedication, and relentless search to experience and share that next new sense of wonder.
Many thanks to the curators, Andrew Page and Elisabeth Agro. Andrew Page is the editor-in-chief of GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly, who works with art critics, museum curators, and practicing artists to put the most important work being done in glass into a critical context. Elisabeth Agro has served as Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art since June 2006. Thank you also to sponsors of the show, including The Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation Endowed Fund for Modern and Contemporary Craft, the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.