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GLANC East Bay Day Tour
Sunday, October 25

The East Bay is awash with talented artists, and GLANC members took advantage of that fact on October 25th.

Our fist stop was to the home and studio of Robert Kehlmann, artist, critic, curator and author, whose work in stained glass can be seen at the Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco. Spending a year in Europe after college, he was inspired by the work of postwar German Stained glass artists including Ludwig Schaffrath and Johannes Schreiter who determined that any new stained glass windows created for the damaged cathedrals would be abstract in nature. Robert’s work takes this inspiration and uses stained glass judiciously layered, sandblasted, foiled, and leaded, with lines that are painterly overlays instead of ways to connect separate pieces of glass.  However, his work does have a religious inspiration, with an abstracted interpretation of both old and new testament.

After lunch at the classic Saul’s Deli, we visited artist Evan Kolker. His organic mixed media work of blown glass with metal focuses on carnivorous plants. The clear pitchers at the ends of the leaves hold casts of insects that have met their fate. His ingenious system of assembling parts allows the plant to move, giving an eerily lifelike effect. The work is beautiful, technically elegant, and slightly unsettling.

 

Robert Kehlmann with GLANC members  

 

Evan Kohlker with GLANC members  

 

J.P. Long and Bella Feldman share a studio around the corner from Evan. J.P.’s work has a strong architectural bent, with the concept of scale evident. His small sculptures are easily envisioned as very large works, and his large, clean black steel and glass pieces have commanding presence. He got his start as Bella’s assistant 15 years ago, and they still share space.

Unfortunately Bella was unable to join us, but J.P. gave us an in-depth tour. Much of Bella’s work is political. Her War Toys on one hand are small pristine steel and glass sculptures with moving parts, meticulously assembled. However, a closer look will reveal that these are not benign toys, but rather instruments of destruction.  Recently she has begun painting large scale oils with an urban, mechanical feel.

It was a fabulous day meeting artists who use the common thread “glass”, but who find completely different reasons and ways to use this medium for personal expression.

 

[Susan Longini]