FEATURED ARTISTS: Cha Glass, Kayla Om, Devin Somerville, Ghost, Brandon Martin, Adam Dunn, Todd Cameron, RepoMn, Eric Ross
Torched brought functional glass into the space of the art gallery, crossing the boundaries set by the worlds of traditional studio glass and fine art. Created by nine functional glass artists living and working in the upper Midwest, the objects included in Torched combined innovation and artisanship, form and function; the works brought the aesthetics of an underground movement into the light of day.
Functional glass is the name now used to refer to the practice of imagining and creating smoking pipes. Though the history of such objects is as old as the medium of glass itself, this practice and these artists have been pushed into the shadows by the conventional glass world for too long. Up until recently, a reputable glassblower would never admit to creating such “functional” illicit objects; but as changing mores and state laws begin to shift attitudes towards marijuana consumption, the field has begun to adapt. Even the straight-laced world of traditional studio glass has taken notice of the material advancements and aesthetic energies of functional glass artists, who continue to push the envelope with their wild and imaginative creations.
Though the name ascribed to their work—functional glass—implies a type of utilitarianism, these artists are doing so much more than creating objects of use. They are reflecting, outfitting, and shaping a culture that is quickly moving mainstream; they are refining an art form that has been largely overlooked by historians of art and culture; they are inventing objects of beauty and imaginary worlds of amazement and wonder.
Torched was curated by RepoMn, a glass artist, street artist, and artist-artist. RepoMn was an early adopter of functional glass, trained in Seattle in the early 1990s and brought his knowledge back to the Twin Cities, his native land.
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