15.5"h x 17.25"w x 6"d
Mongrain's extraordinary mastery of material and facility with Venetian glass technique has earned him a place amongst the great glass artists of the world. Early in his career, his teachers Maestro Lino Tagliapietra and Checco Ungaro, helped guide and influence his inspiration and virtuosity. Today, he leads the glass team at Chihuly Studios where he works directly with Dale Chihuly to create the large-scale masterworks for which Chihuly is so well known.
In Inspirations, the exuberant new exhibition at Traver Gallery, Mongrain presents ten large-scale glass vessels and one towering and functional glass fountain. This body of ornate works extends a series of work that began with a commission by the arts patron, George Stroemple. The Stroemple project was born of a desire to celebrate Mongrain's unique glass-blowing abilities and create a collection that reimagines nineteenth-century blown and hot sculpted glass objects. Mongrain rose to the challenge. The new works, like the vessels that inspired them, include large-scale lidded vessels and goblets that are adorned with iconic mythical creatures such as swans, dolphins, dragons, and seahorses. But Mongrain has breathed new life into these classical objects. By drawing our attention to form, scale, fragility and even absurdity, he brings these opulent historic forms into the world of contemporary art and brings new voice to the elevated design and craftsmanship of the time-honored Venetian glass tradition.
James Mongrain was introduced to glass at Moorhead State University in Minnesota, and later studied glassblowing at Massachusetts College of Art and the Appalachian Center for Crafts. He has worked with Jim Dine, Kiki Smith, Jeff Koons, Robert Wilson, and Walter Lieberman. He has been a nominee for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and exhibits nationwide. Mongrain has been a gaffer at Chihuly Inc. since 1998 and has work in the George Stroemple collection.
Mongrain's current exhibition, Ispirazione: James Mongrain in the George R. Stroemple Collection, is on view at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma through October 15, 2017.