Whether it is a collection of flower blossoms, a monumental abstract installation, or a figurative sculpture, Martin Blank’s hot sculpted glass is made with a combination of technical exactitude and creative exuberance. His working relationship with glass is an intimate one, as he wears heat protective clothing, gets very close, and employs his entire body while molding the molten material. Intuitive and deliberate, he is nonetheless open to enhancing his visual vocabulary with the happy accidents of glasswork.
Crafting the individual segments (like the petals for a flower or the elements of an abstract installation) is the first of two equally important steps towards a completed work. Next, pieces are juxtaposed and negative space is carved out, resulting in an endless interplay and spatial tension that Blank calls “visual mirroring.” Martin Blank’s sculptures reveal nature’s inherent structure and celebrate the complementary relationship of natural and figurative objects in space. His 15 feet high, 210 feet long installation Fluent Steps (2008-9), at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, is made of 754 individually hand-sculpted pieces of glass created mostly during the artist’s 2008 residency at the museum. It required a team of over 40 artists, architects, and engineers to create and install and pays homage to water in its various incarnations.