In creating my work, I believe it is my aesthetic vision, combined with an understanding and emphasis on the structural qualities of glass that has enabled me to create sculptural works of unique form and immense scale. It is my interest in working large, sculpturally and within the architectural environment that lead me to develop techniques with which I produce work that defies categorization and blurs the boundaries between art and architecture.
Projects such as the three pieces of the 25 ton CHRONOS TRILOGY in Hong Kong are unprecedented, not only because of their structure and tremendous scale but also because of innovative techniques in carving, laminations and in the use of colour. Other notable works include the carved glass wall for the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, the 35 foot twin glass towers of PRAIRIE BOY'S DREAM in Winnipeg, Canada, and the 100 foot glass wall in Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris.
I began my post-secondary Study of Art at The University of Manitoba, School of Art in 1972, working in ceramics and sculpture. However, after viewing a less than noteworthy lamp constructed of large glass spheres my attention became focused on the unique qualities of glass. I was intrigued with glass and its ability to bend, distort and colour light. It could be transparent, translucent or opaque. When hot, it was soft, malleable and it flowed! When cold, it was frozen, sharp and brittle! With glass there was suddenly a whole new vocabulary. I saw in glass the opportunity to work with a material that at that time had rarely been used in contemporary art.
Having made the decision to work in glass I sought out a school. My work in glass began in 1974, studying glass blowing with Bill Carlson in a summer program at The Naples Mill School of Arts and Crafts in Naples, New York. In 1975 I continued my studies in glass with Marvin Lipofsky at the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California. Lipofsky, a historical figure in the Studio Glass Movement, was among the first wave of Artist / glass blowers and at that time had been blowing glass for only ten years. The glass movement was just being created. This was an exciting period in glass and CCAC was at the forefront this movement. I received a BFA From The California Collage of Arts and Crafts in 1978.
While still a student at CCAC, I envisioned creating enormous, sculpted walls of glass. I realized that the kind of scale I was seeking was not possible at the end of a blowpipe. I was also not interested in the two dimensional and structurally limited techniques of stained glass. In order to achieve the scale I desired I understood I would have to push glass in new ways and beyond what any other artist had considered.
I elected to work with very thick glass so that I could carve deeply and retain the structural integrity of large spans of glass. Later, I began laminating glass with optically clear adhesives to further build up form within the panels. As the panels grew in size I needed to find new ways of using color that that did not require a size-limiting kiln. To date I have devised numerous techniques which take advantage of the unique properties of glass to add color to my work. But it is probably the innovations in the design of the support structures, which have truly allowed me to create works to match my vision. The structures I have designed allow the glass to stand freely, and/or integrate with the architecture, defining the work with a minimum of visual interference. The process of experimentation and discovery has been a long one but ultimately it is what has allowed me to create the work I currently produce.