Luminous Allure

One of the cool things about living in or around a college town is that there are so many things to do and see. There are museums on campus, there are arts and cultural events, there are performances, there are visiting speakers, you name it. There are many things I think of doing but never really get to. If you are a person who works full-time, fitting it all in can be a challenge.

There has been a special exhibit at the Palmer Museum on campus this summer that I really wanted to see. The museum has free admission and its pretty little gift shop is one of the best-kept secrets on campus. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 4:30, and Sunday from noon to 4. It is closed Mondays and some holidays.

The special exhibit is a display of 50 pieces of studio glass, with the full title being Luminous Allure: Studio Glass from the Collection of Audrey and Norbert Gaelen. (You can read a press release about it here.)

I had stopped by for just 15 minutes a few weeks ago to see the exhibit and it was really beautiful. (Oooh, SHINY!) It was a quick strike, in and out. I easily found my favorite piece in the collection, the one you see in this photo, and I photographed it. But something else won out for the Blip on that day. So I plotted and schemed, thinking I would go back - even for just five minutes! - and photograph that piece for Blip.

On this Friday, I caught a glimpse of the newspaper in the news bin on my way into the office, and a closer look reminded me that the glass exhibit would be closing on this coming Sunday. So I decided to make a hasty visit to the museum to get my photo. And so that is what I did.

The artist who created this piece is Ruth Brockmann, an American artist who lived from 1955 to 2013. The piece is called Intertwined, from 2004, and if you like this piece, you can read more about the artist and see photos of several more of her works here.  Below is what it says on the label next to it:

"Over the years I've just discovered endless magic communicating with nature and spirit. That's what keeps me going. My life is an incredible journey of discovery, and I've come to know who I am through my work. I experience many things that are unexplainable. The mystery and magic I communicate more through my work than I do with words."

I look closely at the piece and I see birds, trees, clouds, a wild cat, a frog, and sparkly drops that might be raindrops here and there. The colors shine with jeweled tones, from a child's paintbox. The piece almost looks like a mask. It makes me think of a rainforest, full of life, color, and sound.

I have a feeling that this artist and I might have enjoyed a good conversation about art and why we make it and how it all fits together and what its purpose is. I think we might find in common a goal of capturing the mystery and the magic of our world in some kind of permanent representation.

Do the colors sing? Do you see now how everything all fits together? Does it speak to the spirit? Does it give you joy? Does it break your heart? Then yes, I think you just may be doing it right . . .

The song to accompany this image is a favorite from 1978: Blondie, with Heart of Glass.

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