Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Glass artist Lino Tagliapietra to bring ‘Metamorfosi’ to Ketchum

Friesen Gallery holds simultaneous exhibition with Smithsonian

Express Staff Writer

"Masai" by Lino Tagliapietra. Blown and hand crafted glass at Friesen Gallery.

At the age of 12, Lino Tagliapietra was dubbed a maestro among glassblowers. Tagliapietra is the world's most celebrated living glassblower, and at 76 has created seven new series called "Metamorfosi," which will open at the Friesen Gallery in Ketchum for Gallery Walk on Friday, Dec. 26. The show will continue through Feb. 8.

"There are 33 museum pieces in this show," said Friesen Gallery's Andria Friesen. "The catalog for the show is the only published catalog of Lino's work with a quote by retired glass artist William Morris."

In Italy, "maestro" is a rarely awarded title. Friesen, who is celebrating 22 years of business, has been showing Tagliapietra's work for over 10 years and said it is a great honor to represent him.

"He was awarded the status of "maestro" five years before I was born," Friesen said. "He and Morris are the two best glassblowers in the world and there is no one behind Lino, which is why the Smithsonian is having his exhibition."

Tagliapietra is from Murano, Italy, a world center for glass and glassblowers. He has learned many techniques that have been closely kept to Murano glass artists. There are many layers of glass in all of his pieces and his etchings are perfect. Several of his pieces are constructed with many rods of glass, called cane, and appear as drawings.

"With molten glass you've got to keep moving," Friesen said. "When Lino came to America he revealed the techniques of Italian glassblowing, which the Italians disapproved of. Now, globally, artists and collectors thank Lino for sharing his secrets and consider him a god."

Friesen said Tagliapietra's show "Metamofosi" is seductive and uplifting, and has an ethereal quality to it. It is not a museum show even though all the pieces are museum quality. There is a balance of work and a feel of being able to live with the work.

"I want to create less of a museum environment and embrace a living environment," Friesen said. "I want people to be involved with the work. There are 11 major pieces in this show that are not on a pedestal and there are glass paintings."

Friesen said the Smithsonian is thrilled to know that her exhibition coincides with the "Lino Taliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Glass" on view at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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