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 Josiah McElheny  (1966 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Massachusetts      Known for: blown glass installations

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Ad Code: 3
Josiah McElheny
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Working with handblown glass, Josiah McElheny, whose studio is in New York City, first became interested in glassblowing when he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design and apprenticed with master glassblowers Lino Tagliapietra in Italy and Jan-Erik Ritzman and Sven-Ake Carlsson in Sweden. 

His working method is to create the objects himself rather than employing a staff of technical assistants, and he often uses techniques that date back many centuries.  He mixes historical eras in his themes and often combines utilitarian glass vessels that go together only in his imagination and that, for many viewers, convey pure aesthetic beauty.

A theme of a 2006 New York exhibition, "Twentieth Century Modernism, Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely", was "modernism's utopian promise, disarray and ultimate failure."  (Volk, 168)  The centerpiece was a 12-foot high sculpture, 16 feet in diameter with a central sphere and many radiating units.  Inspiration for the work, commissioned by the WExner Center Residency Award Program, came while McElheny was attending a Metropolitan Opera performance when he was fascinated by the crystal chandeliers in the building. 

In addition McElheny does mirrored wall-mounted sculptures, Isamu Noguchi inspired abstract shapes.

McElheny has also been involved in education.  In 1998, he was Artist-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; in 2000, he held the same position in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada.  From 2001 to 2003, he was visiting critic at the Yale University School of Art, and in 2003 was a lecturer at the Dia School in Chelsea.

Gregory Volk, "An Infinity of Objects", Art in America, October 2006

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