A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass

Jan 25, 2020 — Oct 4, 2020

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.”

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.


  • 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
  • Jeff Zimmer

Installation Photography

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by

  • Janet Gatherer Boyles & John Boyles
  • Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
  • ImageQuest
  • Bodies of Art
  • The Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation
  • Kathleen Stewart Ponitz
  • Till and Bernice Peters
  • OCM Development LLC
  • Richard and Elizabeth Barrett
  • Dr. Robert and Mrs. Suzanne Bowman
  • Peter & Carol Cordes
  • Kurt and Janet Dietsch
  • Patricia H. Flynn
  • Toby and Jill Gebben
  • Mary and Daniel George
  • Max and Janet Gibbs
  • Tim and Char Hill
  • Bruce Honholt
  • Mary Jean and Michael Keating
  • Constance Kopchick
  • Janet Krueger and Bruce Goodman
  • Daryn and Kira Kuipers
  • Richard Livingston
  • Mark and Karin Matusiak
  • Gerald and Linda Mears
  • Carl Plantinga and Cynthia Kok
  • Jeff and Kim Ridings
  • Douglas Storrs
  • Ruth Stubbs
  • Steele and Mary Taylor
  • Dean J. Toriella
  • Dr. Ghayas and Joy Uddin
  • Kathy and Larry Wildt
  • Brigid Avery
  • Bruce and Rita Bailey
  • Ellen Brubaker and John Ross Thompson
  • Bill and Marilyn Crawford Amway
  • James and Mary Nelson
  • Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation
  • Herman Miller Cares Foundation
  • Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation
  • Mary Ann Sherwood Families and Children Field of Interest Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
  • Gregory and Rajene Betz
  • Wolverine Worldwide Foundation
  • Keller Foundation
  • PNC Bank
  • Marilyn Titche
  • Greg and Leah Hooks
  • Glen Johnson and Tom Merchant
  • Reagan Marketing + Design, LLC
  • TEGNA Foundation
  • The Samuel L. Westerman Foundation

Additional funding provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society