On an early morning walk in Corning, New York, there is a warm, electric glow likely to catch your eye on the corner of East First and Cedar Street. The light comes from a neon installation by James Ronner and is part of a stunning gallery exhibition, Nascent, in the Houghton Gallery at 171 Cedar Arts Center.
Upon entering the space, it is surprising to see that those dynamic neon paperclips are reflected on the surface of William Gudenrath’s precise, Venetian-style reticello glassware. An airy, precarious flameworked installation by Stephen Brucker, Illusion of Inclusion, is juxtaposed with the exuberant colors and inviting texture of Christa Westbrook’s blown sculptures, Yellow Jellyfish and Red Coral.
This inaugural exhibition showcases a survey of glass artwork made by staff members from The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass. Twenty-two objects are on display, made by artists Stephen Brucker, James Geekie, Christopher Giordano, William Gudenrath, Jason Hitchcock, James Ronner, Amy Schwartz, Christa Westbrook, and Richard Whiteley. From a team that has dedicated their careers to supporting artists, students, and visitors in The Studio community, this is a rare opportunity to showcase their own artwork here in Corning. The show was curated by Stephen Brucker, special projects manager at The Studio, and Beth Landin, executive director at 171 Cedar Arts Center.
While all the art features glass, the techniques on display include blown, cold worked, kiln cast, flameworked, and neon work. “The diversity of work represented in this show is a reflection of the range of ability and the depth of knowledge, skill, and creativity that our team brings to The Studio,” says Studio Director Amy Schwartz. “Even the illuminated pedestals were fabricated by our Facility Coordinator, Kyle Lavery. There wasn’t space enough to showcase all of the talented artists on our staff, so I encourage people to look for the work of others from The Studio around the community.”
The artists come from different stages in their careers. Senior Program Manager Richard Whiteley, whose cast glass sculptures have been accessioned in the permanent collection at the Museum, has work situated beside three sculptures by Studio Assistant Jason Hitchcock, an emerging artist. The exhibition strips any hierarchy and presents the artists equally as peers: each artwork is expertly crafted and beautifully displayed. Co-curator Beth Landin commented that this show is a wonderful opportunity for Studio team members to “see their co-workers in a new light—even if that light is neon!”
Founded in 1968, 171 Cedar Arts Center is a not-for-profit multi-arts community center that presents performances in dance and music, exhibitions of fine arts, and offers educational programs in visual arts, ceramics, music, dance, fitness, culinary arts, language, theater, and more. The center is committed to proving artistically dynamic, community-centered, collaborative programming.
“Community collaborations like this one between The Studio and 171 Cedar Arts are one of the things that makes Corning a wonderful place to live and work. I’m excited that Beth Landin and I put our heads together to create this nascent partnership,” says Schwartz.
We encourage you to view Nascent at the Houghton Gallery in 171 Cedar Arts Center’s Drake House. A public reception will take place Friday, January 31 from 5-8 pm during Urban Arts Crawl. The artwork will remain on display through February 21, 2020.