Columbus Dispatch article on Hawk Galleries' 'Brilliant' exhibition
Martin Blank was born August 29, 1962 and received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1984, under the tutelage of Bruce Chow. Blank began his professional career with Dale Chihuly and was an integral part of the Chihuly team for 11 years. Since the 1990s, Martin Blank has been an independent artist in Seattle, producing art and commissions for contemporary collectors, museums and gallery exhibitions.
Martin Blank's work in hot sculpted glass is about carving space and creating tension between sculptural forms. His abstract landscapes reveal the dynamic repetitive structures inherent in nature. Blank states, “It always intrigues me when the forms reveal a negative space that is as vital and potent as the actual objects. Great sculpture is like music, all you have to do is feel it.”
Martin Blank has admired the grace and flow of the human form since childhood, having begun working in clay at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts at age thirteen. In 1984, Blank earned a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and moved west to begin his professional career in Seattle, Washington. Working at the epicenter of studio glass, Blank learned from the driving force behind it: Mr. Dale Chihuly. With his infectious enthusiasm and courageous desire to push the material of glass to its limit, Blank worked on the Chihuly team for eleven years, all the while establishing his own contributions to the glass movement.
Blank's early figurative work swiftly solidified his place as a premier figurative sculptor working in glass. he then expanded his contributions to the contemporary glass scene in 2001 when he introduced his sensual and fluid abstract landscapes.
Sats Blank, "I am an intuitive artist. I work on the way forms relate to each other to cut a line in space that flows, turns and carries the eye around the piece. The forms reveal a negative space that is as vital and potent as the actual objects. My sculptural work is as much about the void as the mass."
Martin Blank's work is about carving space. From the commanding musculature of a male torso to the sensuous curve of a vibrant scarlet abstract element, to the placid elegance of monumental glass trees, his creations evoke a direct connection to natural forms.
"The goal with this series was to take a recognizable form and destruct it. I used a new color technique, cloisonned blue, which adds brightness and an internal luminosity to the glass. Deconstructed Blue is a departure of the figure. It was a leap of faith for me to cut up the form and ruin it so that maybe, it could become something more. In the carving of facets in the piece, it creates a window into the figure so that time is exposed. The act of removal has the ability to reveal the beginning - allowing you to see into the moment of creation, that very first gather, the beginning and the end. You are able to witness the total life of the piece."
"The piece is dedicated to a flower's simplicity and purity of form. Golden Bloom seeks to capture the ephemeral nature of a flower, by crystallizing each delicate petal in time. Gold leaf is applied to the surface to alter the way light interacts with the glass. The refractive material becomes reflective. The glass glows, giving a glimpse of nature's beauty."
Blank's work is included in private collections and museums around the world to include the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Iris &B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Stanford, CA and the Cleveland Museum of Fine Art. His large permanent public installations include "Fluent Steps" at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA; Steam Portrait" at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, NY; "Repose in Amber" at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana; "Convergence" at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, OH; and "Current" at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, WA.
View Martin Blank's Columbus Museum of Art-sponsored webinar: