Fine Arts Museum News

Josh Simpson Exhibition

Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts

November 5, 2007

Josh Simpson: A Visionary Journey in Glass, 1972-2007, a retrospective exhibition highlighting more than three decades of glassblowing by one of the most acclaimed artists in the field, will be on view from November 20, 2007 through February 3, 2008 at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts.

Photo by Tommy Olof Elder
Photo by Tommy Olof Elder
The exhibition of more than 100 works from the artist's personal collection traces the journey of this self-taught master of glass from his early traditional pieces to the spectacular multi-layered works of the present. Highlights from the exhibit are a stunning group of Flower Vases from the 1980s which are antecedents of the Inhabited Vases he makes today, a diverse group of Megaplanets from 1977 to the present, a spectacular Ruby Saturn and a special group of his Tektites, made from glass that is chemically similar to real meteorites. The Josh Simpson exhibition will also feature other early and rarely seen glass sculptures, a special collection of his red New Mexico glass, Copper Baskets, Iridescent Vases, Goblets, Perfume Bottles, Portals, and Inhabited Vases.

Josh Simpson, whose studio is in Shelburne Falls, Mass., first experimented with glass in 1970 when he was a student at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Since then, he has devoted himself to mastering all aspects of glassmaking by designing and building his own furnaces and tools, learning glass chemistry to create a spectrum of colors, and mastering ancient techniques of blowing and forming.

He has found inspiration in NASA images of Earth, and perhaps his greatest satisfaction is derived from his "planets": luminous glass spheres encasing kaleidoscopic landscapes, underwater scenes, and vistas of outer space that reflect Earth's vastness and complexity. One of his Megaplanets, recently commissioned by the Corning Museum of Glass, weighs 107 pounds and is the world's largest glass paperweight. The making of this planet was the subject of the PBS documentary Defying Gravity.

His work is in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the White House Collection of American Crafts, and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

Josh Simpson: A Visionary Journey in Glass was organized by the Huntsville Museum of Art in cooperation with Josh Simpson Contemporary Glass and funded in part by Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

Digital images available on request. Contact sorr@springfieldmuseums.org
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