Handle With Care: Pushing Back The Dark At Ssac

Rusty Russo, "Three Keys," 36” x 48”.


COVER STORY
ON! PUSHING BACK THE DARK
DILLON GALLERY SOUTH SHORE ART CENTER
119 RIPLEY ROAD COHASSET, MASSACHUSETTS
THROUGH APRIL 8

by Beth Neville

“On! Pushing Back the Dark,” the current exhibit at the Dillon Gallery of the South Shore Art Center, promises to be an exciting experience for visitors and the participating creative artists alike. With the gallery skylight covered over and windows shuttered with dark curtains, the hollow, flame-blown glass sculptures will glow in the dark as neon gas pulses and flickers back and forth inside the molten made structures.

This reviewer visited the gallery two days before the show’s installation. “Pushing Back” co-curator, glass artist Chris Rifkin, and SSAC Director Patrice Maye were making a final roll call of participating artists, calculating “who is in” and “who is out” among 17 nationally known invited glass designers. The exhibit, in the planning stages for over a year, promises to be the highlight (no pun intended) of the South Shore gallery’s 2018 season. A special evening event, “Fire and Ice,” on Saturday, March 3, will allow visitors to wander along candlelit paths to see Mundy Hepburn’s six-foot tall flaming arabesques of “Aunt Katy’s Light,” or her seven-foot, blue-color “Antlers,” glass work.

The exhibit was co-curated by nationally famous glass artist, Wayne Strattman, who works out of a Boston studio on Tremont Street. His initial idea was to invite glass artists to create a new work of flame-blown glass that would be sent to his studio, where he would “fill” it with neon gas, then drive the art to Cohasset. Artists from as far away as Seattle were invited, and it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why the exhibit has been running into “technical difficulties.” Shipping costs, concerns about glass breakage, and the failure to be able to execute elaborate “dream” products have prevented some artists from fulfilling their promise to exhibit. It is easier to “dream” of a great work of art than to bring it to actuality. Undaunted, curators Strattman and Rifkin and director Maye were pulling the exhibit together. Completely installed, it should be a spectacular visual event.

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