At a reception last night for the wonderful new glass art show at St. Petersburg’s Florida CraftArt, it was pointed out that the gallery might want to contract for daily window-cleaning because so many people will be pressing their noses against the window panes to get a closer look at the work — in particular, Stephen Pon’s massive “Odyssey.”
But don’t just stand there. Go inside, because this exhibition of glass masters from across North America is full of amazing stuff — a tribute to the extraordinary versatility of the medium, and a fitting prelude to the highly anticipated Glass Art Society conference coming to St. Pete March 29-31.
St. Pete’s own glass masters, Duncan McClellan and Mary Childs, curated “QUEST: A Celebration of Glass” (Mar. 7-Apr. 20) for Florida CraftArt. The 14 artists in the show draw on mythological, cultural and personal imagery to illustrate their individual journeys of self-exploration and communication.
Pon’s “Odyssey” (above) — which is more than 10 feet long and evokes a Viking longship (if the prow were a snake and the deck were a turtle), aboard which 30 intricately crafted male figures ponder and struggle — has been on a rather perilous journey itself. The artist drove it all the way from his home in Québec in a not very large station wagon, worrying all the time whether some careless driver might rear-end him and shatter 400 hours’ worth of work.
Other artists in the exhibition (in addition to Pon and McClellan) include John Brekke, Hyunsung Cho, Terri Grant, Jack Gramann, Eric Hilton, Richard Jolley, Richard Logan, Paul J. Nelson, Eduardo Prado, Lisabeth Sterling, Alexis Silk and Tim Tate. Florida CraftArt visitors will be asked to vote for their favorite work of art. The exhibition will culminate with a closing reception in which the “People’s Choice Award” will be presented.
March 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Opening reception and meet the artists
March 16, 1-3 p.m. Keep St. Pete Lit “Hero’s Journey” writing workshop
March 19, 6 p.m. Duncan McClellan (St. Petersburg) Artist’s Talk
March 26, 4:30 p.m. Jack Gramann (Ohio) and Stephen Pon (Québec) Artists’ Talk
April 1, 5:30 p.m. Flamework-Melanie Cech (St. Petersburg) Artist’s Talk
April 13, 2-4 p.m. SunLit Festival, Fantastic Ekphrastic writers perform interpretations
April 18, 5:30 p.m. Paul J. Nelson (Kentucky) Artist’s Talk
April 20, 5:30-7 p.m. Closing reception and People’s Choice Award
Florida CraftArt, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-821-7391, www.FloridaCraftArt.org