Charlotte Potter (American, b. 1981), Pending (detail), 2014. Cameo engraved glass and metal, 156 x 360 x 96 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Heller Gallery, New York.


April Surgent (American, born 1982). Portrait of an Iceberg, Gerlache Strait, Western Antarctic Peninsula, 2015. Cameo engraved glass. 18 7/8 x 29 1/8 x 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Heller Gallery, New York.


David Chatt (American, born 1960). If She Knew You Were Coming, 2015. Found objects covered in sewn glass beads on wood table. 57 x 40 x 23 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


Patrick Martin (American, born 1964). Untitled, 2010. Glass and metal. 33 x 25 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


23. Norwood Viviano (American, b. 1972). Recasting Grand Rapids, 2020. Kilncast glass, 3D printed pattern, and found object, 22 x 17 x 29 ½ inches. Photo: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh


Norwood Viviano (American, b. 1972). Recasting Detroit, 2017. Kilncast glass, 3D printed pattern, and found object, 16.5” x 13.5” x 11”. Photo: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh


Erica Rosenfeld (American, b. England 1975). Reverie Forest III: Adelaide & Clementine, 2016. Glass and mixed media, 10 1/2 x 40 x 6 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Heller Gallery, New York.


Tali Grinshpan (Israeli/American, b. Israel 1972). Hope from the series Of Innocence and Experience, 2016. Pâte de verre, 10 x 10 x 5 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.


Rachel Moore (American, b. 1979), Sugarplum, 2005. Cast lead crystal glass and cherries, 3 1/2 x 6 x 6 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Stewart Gallery.


Steffen Dam (Danish, b. 1961), Specimen Cabinet, 2017. Glass and mixed media, 39 1/4 x 25 x 10 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Heller Gallery, New York.

A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass

January 25, 2020 – October 3, 2020

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Please note, A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass has been extended through October 3, previously scheduled to close April 26.

Level II, Changing Exhibition Galleries

Glass has been called a new state of matter because it is not purely a liquid, solid, or gas. Glass can transition from a liquid to a solid over a wide temperature range, causing it to be nicknamed “chameleon matter”. This quality makes it an ideal medium for a wide array of processes including blowing, kiln-forming, casting, and flame-working.

Glass can be translucent, transparent, or opaque; it can refract images or reflect them back to the viewer; it is strong, yet delicate. These qualities make glass perfectly suited for artists to explore fragility, resiliency, transparency, and transformation. This exhibition features work by contemporary artists who are using glass in innovative ways, while presenting its metaphorical possibilities. Their artworks also connect to broader cultural, environmental, political, and spiritual themes.

Each of the nineteen artists included in the exhibition examines the material and symbolic potential of glass in unique and revealing ways. For example, artists Charlotte Potter and April Surgent use the ancient process of cameo glass engraving to explore relationships in the age of social media and climate change, respectively. Jeffrey Stenbom utilizes cast glass to unveil the struggles facing the nation’s veterans. David Chatt, in a repetitive, labor-intensive process, covers found objects with thousands of miniscule glass beads to discuss family and nostalgia. Amber Cowan repurposes American pressed glass to create her intricate installations that recall a by-gone era.

The exhibition also includes work by Grand Rapids artist Norwood Viviano. Viviano fuses fine arts practice with data and research findings in geography, economics, and the social sciences to create environments in which sensuous beauty and topical information coalesce. Viviano has said that, “The fragility of glass serves as a metaphor for balance between time, efficiency, and the inability of manufacturing to change and meet future needs.”

Featured artists include: Dean Allison, David Chatt, Amber Cowan, Steffen Dam, Morgan Gilbreath, Tali Grinshpan, Etsuko Ichikawa, Patrick Martin, Rachel Moore, Whitney Nye, Charlotte Potter, Michael Rogers, Erica Rosenfeld, Mary Shaffer, Jeffrey Stenbom, April Surgent, Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Norwood Viviano, and Jeff Zimmer.

Learn more about the artists | Aprende más sobre los artistas

Click here to read about the artists featured in this exhibition and their process, both in English and en Español.

A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass has been organized by the Boise Art Museum. The exhibition is sponsored by the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation with additional grant support from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

Wege Foundation
James and Mary Nelson
Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik
The Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation
Greg and Meg Willit
Diana Dopson/D*Lux Travel
Eenhoorn, LLC.
Haworth, Inc.
Dirk and June Hoffius
J. Visser Design
The Keeler Foundation aka The Miner S. and Mary Ann Keeler Fund
Janet and Mark Nisbett
Lizbeth S. O’Shaughnessy and Terry Rathbun
Progressive AE
Reagan Marketing + Design, LLC
Dr. Ghayas and Joy Uddin

Lead Exhibition Society Sponsor:

Additional funding provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society.