Historically, certain traditions of art history have tended to most value artworks made by a single person. What does it mean when a finished work is comprised of the talents of more than one artist? Even a popular artist such as Rembrandt van Rijn has works attributed to a “studio”—a designation that means, in essence, that Rembrandt was not solely responsible for the final piece. Comprised of artwork from RAM’s collection, this exhibition investigates artistic practices and the particular challenges and rewards of working collaboratively, yet it also raises questions about how such working processes break down assumptions about historical models that privilege a single artist. And, significantly, it celebrates the innovation and perseverance of artists who were making a name for a material that was sometimes marginalized and treated as less significant in the scope of contemporary art.
The artist teams whose works are featured—Benjamin Edols and Kathy Elliott, Margie Jervis and Susie Krasnican, and Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace—have each had significant careers in contemporary glass. While they are not the only artistic duos working in the field that RAM collects, they stand out as they are represented by multiple works.
While delighted to highlight artwork incorporating glass at any time, RAM is incredibly proud to do so in 2022, which has been designated the International Year of Glass by the United Nations to celebrate the heritage and importance of the material in all facets of life.
Margie Jervis and Susie Krasnican, Shadow Vessel, 1987, Glass, 15 3/4 x 9 x 4 1/2 inches, Racine Art Museum, Gift of Donald and Carol Wiiken. Photography: Jon Bolton