My most recent series of sculpture is inspired by the folkloric tradition of Afro-Cuban percussion and dance. The music that came from Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas is based not on the individual, but on the group efforts of the community. It takes everyone in the group, playing their part, to create the music. I find a strong correlation between this community ritual, and the teamwork of the Italian glassblowing tradition. I celebrate the expression of community, it’s music, rituals and identity, with my masks, drums, and dancers.
My “Orisha” sculptures are inspired primarily by Afro-Cuban music. This music originated in western Africa, and spread throughout the islands of the Caribbean, and South and Central America. As the music spread, each culture melded their music with the Spanish and native music and dance. The masks and sculptures of this tradition often depict the Orishas, or spirits, of the culture. The Orishas can be deities in the spirit world, or humans who upon their death, are recognized as deities due to their extraordinary feats. The masks are used in various rituals, which include music, song, costumes and dance. These rituals are often celebrations of rites of passage, or worship of ancestors. My sculptures are interpretations of traditional masks on a conga shaped torso.
The masks are blown and sculpted from inside the bubble, using colored powders and bit work. The torsos are blown with various murrini and cane techniques. The bases are cast glass with enamel colors. The pieces are assembled cold.
Robert Dane started blowing glass at Massachusetts College of Art in 1973. He has studied with Lino Tagliapietra, Pino Signoretto, Dan Dailey, Dante Marioni, and William Morris. He has exhibited his sculpture and glassware widely in galleries around the country. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Renwick Collection of the Smithsonian Institution. From 1996 to 2016 he and his wife Jayne owned the Dane Gallery on Nantucket, where they showed Robert’s work along with the work of some of the top artists in glass and ceramics.
Robert Dane’s current work is created in his studio in the northern Berkshires of western Massachusetts. His work is influenced by the Italian tradition of glassblowing, but has a distinctly American flavor. Vibrant colors and the spontaneous improvisation of these unique designs distinguish his work in a two thousand year tradition of glassblowing.