Nate Ricciuto (b. 1984) merges glass, sculpture, and image in creating objects and environments that exist in the odd space between technical and intuitive. He holds a BFA from Ohio State University (2008), and an MFA from Tyler School of Art (2015). Ricciuto has been an Artist in Residence at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, a Creative Glass Center of America Fellow in New Jersey, and was the recipient of a 2017 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. He lives in Columbus, OH, where he is currently a lecturer at Ohio State University and instructor at Columbus College of Art and Design.
Off Kilter Series
Just as Escher described spaces that were mathematically possible, but practically impossible, Buckminster Fuller became well known for attempting to revolutionize architecture through promoting the mathematical potential of geodesic forms. The term "geodesic" refers to finding the shortest possible line between two points on a sphere or curved surface. Fuller believed that forgoing the right angle and the rectangle could solve all the world's problems and that embracing geodesic designs would enable us to cover the greatest amount of space with the fewest possible resources. These geodesic forms have become a symbol of alternative ideas, and the title of my Off Kilter series is inspired by Fuller's unconventional, eccentric and idealistic approach to design. These geodesic glass forms were created by merging traditional glassblowing techniques with digitally fabricated mold technology.
Shifting Structures Series
These new pieces are inspired specifically by considering glass as a central phenomenon in understanding the histories of design, architecture and invention. The Ambiguous Figure works reimagine the famous "Schroeder Staircase" optical illusion, which demonstrates how we can perceive two distinct spaces within one image, and was influential in the work of M.C. Escher. Both Escher's work, and Schroeder's model call attention to the way that actual space can be represented, and distorted, on a flat surface. For me, the fantastical architecture of Escher's drawings, and our everyday experience is informed by the elusive and illusionistic properties of glass, These pieces are intended to interact with the viewer and the environment, extending our space into the image and the image into our space.
Through investigating the desire to imagine different worlds and the myriad strategies for achieving them, Ricciuto’s projects focus on craft as a source of curiosity, invention and discovery. He draws inspiration from both natural phenomena and science fiction in creating instruments and devices that engage playfully with found materials and handmade glass, often inviting interaction and rewarding careful observation. These objects explore the possibilities of fiction and speculation in opening up spaces where perception can become tactile and fluid. Taking to heart the basic assumption that things are rarely what they seem, Ricciuto seeks to discover mysterious, unexpected, and humorous qualities in familiar objects.