MARTIN BLANK

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Martin Blank was born August 29, 1962 and received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1984, under the tutelage of Bruce Chow. Blank began his professional career with Dale Chihuly and was an integral part of the Chihuly team for 11 years. Since the 1990s, Martin Blank has been an independent artist in Seattle, producing art and commissions for contemporary collectors, museums and gallery exhibitions. Martin Blank's work in hot sculpted glass is about carving space and creating tension between sculptural forms. His abstract landscapes reveal the dynamic repetitive structures inherent in nature.

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.

“My intent with Fluent Steps is to awaken the viewer’s eye to keenly observe, interact with, and respond to the emotive nature of water. Water can be placid, sublime, and—in an instant—uncompromisingly raw and powerful. It’s the vehicle for capturing light, motion, fluidity, and  transparency. It’s the vehicle for life.”— Martin Blank

Martin Blank received his BFA in Glass at the Rhode Island School of Design and worked for Dale Chihuly for eleven years before opening the Martin Blank Studios in Seattle, WA in the 1990s.  He created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning award in 2001 and his artwork is represented in many public collections, including: Millennium Museum (Beijing); the Shanghai Museum of Fine Art; the American Embassy (Slovakia); the Corning Museum (NY); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); the Krannert Art Museum (Champaign, IL); and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Lake Worth, FL).

Blank states, “It always intrigues me when the forms reveal a negative space that is as vital and potent as the actual objects. Great sculpture is like music, all you have to do is feel it.”

 Public & Private Collections

 3OOM Corporation, San Jose, CA Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV Bill Gates Residence, Pipes, Seattle, WA Bruce and Anne Bachmann Glass Collection Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH Coos Bay Museum, Coos Bay, OR Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Westwood Elton John, Figure Sculpture, London, England Eve and Chap Alvord, Seattle, WA Everett Properties, B Figure Sculpture, Bellevue, WA Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI Honolulu Academy of Art, HI Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, FL International Pilchuck Collection, Janus Series, Pacific First Center, Seattle, WA Kenny G. Residence, Figure Sculpture, Los Angeles, CA KIRO TV Studio, Glass Set Design, Seattle, WA La Plume Bar, Janus Series, The Regent Hotel, Hong Kong Mary & Leigh Bloch Museum of Art, Evanston, IL Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN Melvin Poll, Inc., Current - Seattle, WA Millennium Museum, Beijing, China Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, Canada Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL Orchestra Hall, Detroit, MI Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL Palisades Restaurant, Chandeliers, Seattle, WA Palm Springs; San Francisco; Honolulu; Palomino Restaurants, Chandeliers, Seattle; Minneapolis; Pat and Marty Fine Residence, Pipes, Miami, FL PBCC Museum, Palm Beach, FL Pepe Residence, Entry Way Sculpture, Cleveland, OH Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL Robin Lockhart, Switzerland Ron Kaufman, Figure Sculpture, Singapore Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT Shanghai Museum of Fine Art, China Sheldon and Penny Bernick Residence, Entry Way Sculpture, Philadelphia, PA Sheldon and Penny Bernick Residence, Pipes, Media, PA Sunhills Country Club, Janus Series, Tokyo, Japan Tacoma Museum of Art, Tacoma, WA Tampa Museum of Art, Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Basch The Benaroya Company, Figure Sculpture, Seattle, WA Time Warner, Figure Sculpture, Los Angeles, CA Toledo Museum of Fine Art, Toledo, OH White Box Museum, Beijing, China

Honors and Awards

 2007   Artist in Residence, Museum of Glass, WA
2004   Repose in Amber put on Public Art Tour, Chicago, IL
2003   Artist in Residence, Museum of Glass, WA   
2003   Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein to submit designs for a public art commission at 7 World Trade Center
1996   Chosen for "Art in the Embassies" program, American Embassy to Slovakia
1986, 90   Pilchuck Glass School Scholarship, Stanwood, WA

 

Selected Exhibitions:

 2017  Crystal Veil Chandelier, Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, FL

 2016  Bruce and Anne Bachmann Glass Collection, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI

          Pipes, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH              

2015   Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

2014   Tacoma Museum of Art, Tacoma, WA

          Toledo Museum of Fine Art, Toledo, OH

          Dayton Celebrates Glass: Chihuly, Littleton, Labino and Beyond, Dayton Art Institute

2013   Contemporary Glass Sculpture, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL

          Northwest Collects, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

          White Box Museum, Beijing, China

          Ringling Museum, Philip and Nancy Kotler’s Collection, Sarasota, FL

          Coos Bay Museum, Coos Bay, OR

          Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL

2012   Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT

          Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

          50 Years of Studio Glass, Museum of Art & Craft Kentucky, Louisville, KY

          Evolution/Revolution: 50 Years of American Studio Glass, Dennos Museum Center, MI

                  Fifty Years: Contemporary American Glass from Illinois Collections, Krannart Art Museum

          Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI

2010   Go Figure, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University Contemporary Collection, Stanford, CA

          Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

2009   Museum of Glass, Tacoma WA

2008   Steninge Palace Cultural Center, Sweden

          Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada

          Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, WI

          New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT

2007  Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY

2006  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA

         Block Museum, NW University, Evanston, IL

2005  Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL

2004  Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL

2003  Museum of Northwest Art La Conner, WA

         Honolulu Academy of Art, HI

2001  International Glass Exhibition, Shanghai Fine Arts Museum, China

         Millennium Museum, Beijing, China

1996  Museum of Contemporary Art, Lake Worth, FL

         The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom, Nashville, TN

"MY INTENT WITH FLUENT STEPS IS TO AWAKEN THE VIEWER’S EYE TO KEENLY OBSERVE, INTERACT WITH, AND RESPOND TO THE EMOTIVE NATURE OF WATER. WATER CAN BE PLACID, SUBLIME, AND — IN AN INSTANT — UNCOMPROMISINGLY RAW AND POWERFUL. IT’S THE VEHICLE FOR CAPTURING LIGHT, MOTION, FLUIDITY, AND TRANSPARENCY. IT’S THE VEHICLE FOR LIFE."

— MARTIN BLANK