August 1 – Sept 28, 2018
Opening, Wednesday, August 1, 6-8PM
Artist will be present
Traver Gallery is proud to present Radiant, an exhibition of new works by Seattle sculptor John Kiley. Created as part of a site-specific project, the 15-minute documentary film and eleven unique sculptures-Fractographs-that feature in this new exhibition, explore the metamorphosis of place, and material.
In April 2018, John Kiley and a small team of assistants, traveled to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to create a body of work inside an abandoned glass factory. The factory, which opened in 1917 as Radiant Glass, employed more than 140 glass blowers and produced more than 3000 pieces of glass per day, at its peak. Later sold and renamed Southwest Glass, the company continued production continuously until 2003 when a spike in natural gas prices and increased overseas competition forced them to extinguish their furnaces permanently. Lightly built with exposed rusty trusses and posts, the now defunct factory is filled with remnants and relics from a once burgeoning local industry. The floors are littered with massive chunks of broken furnaces and kilns, graffiti covers the walls, and 4ft tall piles of multicolor broken glass are swept into corners where they shimmer when momentary beams of sunlight penetrate the holes in the corrugated sheet metal walls. It was there, in a rural factory filled with ghosts of industry and craft, that John Kiley found the inspiration for his most recent project.
Over the course of three days, John and his team of assistants and documentarians claimed the historic Radiant Glass Factory as a studio. On the factory floor, Kiley made eleven new Fractographs, continuing his recent exploration of methods of deconstruction. Glass collected from the location was melted in furnaces made from found elements, then poured consecutively on to optically-precise blocks of glass (made to his specifications by a factory overseas). The thermal shock causes the glass to break with totally unpredictable results. Finally, the shards are collected and reassembled. The resulting work is breathtaking; highlighting the immediacy of the process and the mutable crystalline optical effects that are created by the cracks and fissures. Kiley’s conceptual approach to the medium and the site-specific nature of this particular project highlight the interaction between artist and material; preserving the energy and emotion of a single moment while simultaneously capturing the potency of the metamorphosis of a place and an object.
Seattle native John Kiley began his professional career at the age of 19 at The Glass Eye Studio. Promoted to Gaffer on Dale Chihuly’s chandelier team at the age of 21, he traveled to Finland, Ireland, Mexico, and Italy as part of the Chihuly Over Venice Team. He was a principal member of Lino Tagliapietra’s team for sixteen years until 2011 when he became the Glass Director at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA. In addition to his work with Chihuly and Tagliapietra, John has worked with Dante Marioni and Benjamin Moore and has been a teaching assistant to Lino Tagliapietra, Dante Marioni, Benjamin Moore, Richard Marquis, Josiah McElheny, & Checco Ongaro. He has been a visiting instructor at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland, The Bezalel Academy of Art And Design in Jerusalem, Israel, The Pittsburgh Glass Center and Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, WA. He has worked and demonstrated in Finland, Ireland, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Bulgaria, China, Australia, Brazil, and Turkey. John Kiley’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums around the world.
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