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 Christopher Ries  (1952 - )

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Lived/Active: Wisconsin/Ohio      Known for: contemporary glass sculpture

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Desert Flower
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Biography from Wiford Gallery:
Christopher Ries, born 1952, received a BFA from the Ohio State University, and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  While at Madison, he was the personal assistant to Harvey K. Littleton who is considered by many to be the father of the 20th century Studio Glass Movement. 

Ries began sculpting cold glass in the late 1970's.  Using tools of his own creation, he cuts, grinds, and polishes blocks of pure lead crystal acquired from Schott Glass Technologies of Pennsylvania.  His sculptures range in size from a few inches high to life-size.  Some of his works are unique as the largest, whole, unassembled pieces of sculpted crystal known.

Unlike most glass artists, Ries neither blows nor laminates glass.  Rather, he works in the traditional reductive sculptural mode, employing the same techniques used in stone sculpting.  Starting with a block of solid optical glass and reducing it to his desired form, his luminous works are characterized by their technical perfection and the seemingly magical, ever changing optical patterns within them.

"Christopher Ries composes light through the medium of glass. While these sculptures suggest a range of sources from prisms to faceted gemstones, these terms are too limiting to describe them.  His works quietly move the eye, creating emotional and aesthetic reactions that connect the viewers to his work.  Ries effectively blends a technical precision with an artistic vision that challenges the mind, while satisfying the spirit."

Biography from Quidley & Company:
Christopher Ries was born in 1952 and grew up on a farm near Columbus, Ohio.  In 1971 Ries studied ceramics at the Ohio State University.  During courses in glaze calculations, he learned to make and appreciate glass.  Ries received his B.F.A. in 1975 and in 1978 received his M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Today Ries is a highly acclaimed contemporary glass artist, known worldwide for his prodigious art.

Though initially he blew glass, by the late 1970’s he was sculpting glass cold by cutting, grinding and polishing it in his home studio.  Ries acquired blocks of pure, clear lead crystal from Schott North America of Duryea, Pennsylvania.  Today, he collaborates with Schott Glass as artist-in-residence.

Ries composes light through the medium of glass by sculpting monolithic forms from giant blocks of optic crystal.  He creates polished forms, which reflect internally and then transmit abstract compositions, which appear as pure apparitions of light.

The inspiration for these sculptures is as diverse as water, wind, fire and flowers.  Some suggest the glow and light of flame, while others the shimmer and reflectivity of water. All have a profound simplicity and elegance of form. They allow the viewer great latitude in interpretation.  For many viewers, the work is at once intellectually, emotionally and spiritually spellbinding.

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