Art of the Day/ New Internship

6 Jun

Cloistered Column by Paul Stankard

Cloistered Column. by Paul Stankard (born 1943). Glass, 2013 (?). Available at the Holsten Galleries of Contemporary Glass Sculpture, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Notes from

Paul Stankard is one of the most prestigious and world-reknown glass artists, famed for encasing his extremely delicate sculptures of flowers and insects in globes or cubes of clear glass. He is the recipient of numerous awards and holds two honory doctorates. Stankard’s work has shown across the United States and Europe and in Japan and Taiwan. He is currently a Fellow at the Corning Museum of Glass and serves as a founding board member of the Creative Glass Center of America in Millville, New Jersey.

Stankard finds many corresponding themes between his work and that of Walt Whitman:

“As an artist who has worked with my hands in glass for 35 years, the line ‘the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery’ continues to amaze me. And the native flowers he chose to write about like pokeberries and common mullein are easily overlooked, ordinary. He speaks of the ant’s perfection, the egg of a wren.

“Experiencing the plant kingdom with Whitman energizes me. I have internalized his works with my feelings to recapitulate and rework those feelings in glass. His work informs my aesthetic and elevates my expectations of myself as an artist. What Whitman did with words, I seek to do with glass on a visual level. My dream is to articulate fresh information about nature in glass. My work is driven by respect for living things, and by delicacy and detail. I try to match Whitman’s depth of feeling with my own passion and skill. You have to bring something to Whitman – it isn’t immediately available at first. I want from the viewer the same openness, curiousity, and maturity that are needed for Whitman’s work. ”

My comments:

Before I go into the artwork I picked for today, I want to explain what has happened with my internship in the past few days. The one I was going to do with Laurence Salzmann didn’t pan out for me: he was interested in using me mainly to sell books of his work, and sales is really not what I’m interested in. I could see myself enjoying selling art more, but the problem is that Salzmann’s work falls on the very edge of what can be considered art. He doesn’t think of himself as an artist but as a documentary photographer. A visual anthropologist would be a more accurate term to describe what he does. So unfortunately I had to part ways with his position.

But the good news is that I was able to start another internship with Miriam Seidel, the curator of the Gershman Y. She is the woman with whom I had the pleasure of working during winter break for my externship. I had a really great time seeing what she does and I’m very excited to be working with her this summer.

My first day with her was today, and my first assignment was to research contemporary glass artists that we could commission to make glass menorahs for a crafts show that the Gershman Y will be hosting in late October for Hanukkah. One of the artists I came across in my research was Paul Stankard, whose work I particularly liked. What made me decide to choose him for my post out of the many glass artists I researched today was his comment above about what viewers have to bring to the table in order to appreciate an artwork. It’s an interesting comment even to assert that viewers do have to contribute to their own appreciation of art, because I think that based on how many people look at art (particularly modern and contemporary art), they expect the artists to completely dazzle them, to push them beyond their doubt. The people who scoff at artworks by saying something like “my kid could have painted that” expect that art should do all the work in its communication to viewers. But communication is a two-way street: there is the sending and the receiving of the message, and both have to be working well in order for the communication to truly take place. Especially when one is trying to understand a message that can be complex and difficult to understand (like poetry and art), one must have an open mind and an open heart. I think that to appreciate art does require a sort of optimism; one has to go into the business of art appreciation with the premise that art is meaningful and worth seeing in order to truly understand and appreciate it. This doesn’t mean one can’t be critical of art, but it does mean that it shouldn’t be dismissed based on the perceived difficulty of making it. Art is not a contest of skill. It is a form of human expression that can have worth no matter how “easy” it was to make it.

2 Responses to “Art of the Day/ New Internship”

  1. tara June 7, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    very eloquently stated.sounds like your first day went well and made you happy. God works in wondrous ways.

  2. Karen June 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Congrats on the internship. It sounds like a great place to learn about many things and your post today was insightful. I enjoy your comments as much as the art I am now learning about

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