Most sculpture exhibits are collections of different shapes but the shapes of these pieces at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art are identical. The difference is what's inside. The works are by Dutch artist Peter Bremers whose glass sculptures mimic forms found in nature, so natural in fact they seem part of the natural landscape that surrounds them. In Bremers' Fort Wayne exhibit though all the shapes are the same, forcing the viewer instead to focus on the materials they're made from. There is the soft, gleaming surface of this piece of Bianco marble from Italy, looking like white sand on a pristine beach or the surface of a snow bank. And the sterile quality of this one made of brushed aluminum, like surgical instruments at a hospital or the grill of some antique car. This incredible piece is made of onyx from the Grand Canyon with gorgeous layers of color just like you see in the canyon itself or on the surface of another planet. Peter Bremers is primarily a glass artist, though, so the glass pieces are especially dramatic, like this one that looks like the spine of some extinct creature. The white discs of the spine are actually chunks of glass laid side by side in a mold before molten glass is poured on top of them.
“When you cut the glass on the edges the heat treats that differently so that the center stays the clear glass and the edges turn that whitish color,” explains museum director Charles Shepard III. “It's all in the chemical reaction to the heat on those edges.”
However it's done these pieces, though all the same shape, have visitors returning two and three times to see them. The explanation, experts say, is obvious.
“I think these are beautiful sculptural shapes in differing materials,” says Shepard. “That's what art used to be, beautiful things. You go through that period of the '60's, '70's, '80's when it had to be challenging, intellectual concepts. I'm not so certain we don't like beautiful things still.”
Marble, metal, molten glass...materials as old as time itself and still very much the shape of things, here in 21 Country. Eric Olson reporting.