The Secret Life of Glass - CODAworx

The Secret Life of Glass

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Client: Spencer Finch (James Cohan Gallery)

Location: Corning, NY, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Fabricator

Bullseye Studio

Artist

Spencer Finch (James Cohan Gallery)

Museum

The Corning Museum of Glass

Overview

The Corning Museum of Glass commissioned The Secret Life of Glass, a 14.5’ x 25.75’ artwork by Spencer Finch (James Cohan Gallery). For this artwork, his first in kilnformed/fused glass, Finch selected Bullseye Studio to fabricate the work, to provide testing, and to design and engineer its support framework.

Known for light and glass installations that visualize his experience of natural phenomena, Finch developed the artwork for Corning by studying digital temperature readings of the site’s existing float glass curtain wall and investigating the clear glass’s experience of heat at a specific moment in time. Finch discovered a wave pattern in the readings. He then transformed that data and its pattern into representational imagery, assigning colors to the eight primary temperature ranges he observed. In the words of Karol Wight, President and Executive Director of The Corning Museum of Glass, The Secret Life of Glass “embodies once again Finch’s artistic interest in science and in using the material of glass to reveal the unseen.”

Goals

The installed artwork consists of sixteen ~3.5’ x 6’ kilnformed colored glass panels. It is held in a framework adjacent to the clear glass curtain wall where Finch discovered the wave pattern—the wall whose ‘secret life’ the artwork reveals. Bullseye Studio fabricated the glass artwork through kilnforming, a process of fusing glass elements together in an kiln to form larger, monolithic artworks or architectural components. Bullseye Studio also designed and engineered the artwork’s support frame, conducted all required testing, and provided installation consultation.  

Process

To accomplish the work, Bullseye Studio employed the expertise of the Bullseye Glass Co. factory, requesting specially-sized large sheets of clear glass and a custom formulated violet glass. In addition to these custom glasses, Finch’s artwork called for incorporation of many “striker” glasses (glasses which don’t yield their true color until fired in the kiln) and glasses that incite visual reactions when fused together. Bullseye Studio worked closely with Finch to orchestrate this complex array of kilnformed glass into a successful translation of his vision. “Translating the concepts for The Secret Life of Glass into kilnformed glass is an honor,” reflected Bullseye Studio Project Manager Tom Jacobs. “As fabricators for Spencer Finch and his team, we are proud to provide custom solutions to the technical challenges posed by this site-specific installation.”

Additional Information

“The Secret Life of Glass has become one of my favorite pieces in our collection,” shares Karol Wight, President and Executive Director of The Corning Museum of Glass. “Encountering it in the late afternoon can be a soul-lifting experience—exactly what a beautiful work of art can be in our lives.”