Oct 1 - Oct 31 | Opening Reception: October 1, 5-8 pm
Traver Gallery is pleased to present Towers, an exhibition of new large-scale glass constructions by Seattle artist John Kiley. In this, his tenth solo exhibition at Traver Gallery, Kiley continues to push the boundaries of glass as a sculptural medium. Ranging from three to seven feet in height, the six unique Towers presented in this show significantly extend the artist’s exploration of color, transparency, light, balance, and volume.
Though recognized internationally for his contemporary blown glass sculpture, John Kiley has recently spent less and less time in the hot shop. Since debuting his Fractograph series in 2016, he has embraced a self-defined studio glass practice rooted in concept and informed deeply by a studied approach to and comprehension of the material. Using primary geometric forms as the architecture for his glass sculptures, Kiley constructs his Towers using blocks of polished optical glass. The glass elements, weighing up to 80 pounds each, are stacked atop one another and balanced on edge, appearing to defy gravity.
At first look, Kiley’s Towers reveal a radical simplicity: elegantly stacked chromatic blocks rise as figures, or architecture, creating a landscape within a space. However, it is in the reviewing – the repositioning of oneself in relationship to them – that they expose themselves more completely. Their intricacy resides in the mutable qualities that occupy them inherently: shadow, reflection, chromatic overlay, transparency, opacity, and light. Kiley’s towers invite the viewer to enter a liminal space, where color and light have weight and volume and where reflection and prisms give way to deep pools of color and shifting horizons of light.
American, b. 1973, Seattle, USA, based in Seattle and San Francisco, USA.
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 Taglipietra’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.
Kiley uses primary geometric forms as the architecture for his glass sculptures. In his spherical forms, juxtaposed colors and carved optic passageways create a separation of space, allowing the viewer to peer into and through the form. Often his sculptures are balanced on edge seeming to defy gravity. His Fractograph series takes a more conceptual approach to the material. Different methods including impact and thermal shock are used to shatter a perfectly polished optic blocks. The sometimes-powerful explosion are filmed in slow motion and exhibited along with the reconstructed blocks.