Native Czechoslovakian Martin Rosol, who became a naturalized American citizen in 1994, traveled a long road in pursuit of his dream to be a glass artist. Rosol’s earliest training came in his native country before Vaclav Havel and the 1989 Velvet Revolution transformed it from a communist regime to today’s Czech Republic.
Martin Rosol attended the School for Arts and Crafts in Prague, 1973-1976, then trained in coldworking at a company school designed to develop craftsmen to execute limited edition designs for art glass manufacturers. He became adept at executing functional objects by day, then using the day’s leftover materials to create more abstract pieces at night. The communist government prohibited Rosol from selling his art but soon he was exhibiting in Europe and the United States. In 1981, Rosol was awarded the Bavarian State Prize for Glass Sculpture, an award given out each year in Munich for outstanding contributions in decorative art.
During Martin Rosol’s first trip to the United States in 1986 on a five-month visitor’s visa, he worked with an established glass artist in New York State setting up the machines and assisting in his studio. He spent his spare time on his own work and sold at Holsten Galleries in Stockbridge. Upon his return to Czechoslovakia that summer, Rosol determined he would find a way to immigrate to the United States permanently, traveling with his family from Hungary, to Yugoslavia, Austria, and Germany, where they spent two years waiting for visas. Eventually they settled in Massachusetts, where Rosol lives and works today.
Rosol’s forms—faceted like futuristic gemstones—are designed to maximize light, show off its myriad features, and captivate the viewer in an infinitely reflective and always evolving place. Rosol begins his architectural sculptures by cutting blocks of flawless clear crystal and finishing the various sides with differing textures. Polishing creates ice-like surfaces while sandblasting results in a softer opaqueness. Areas of the glass are tinged with veneers of color that seem more prismatic illusion than real pigmentation. Finally, the parts are assembled in bifurcated geometric forms whose angles, intersections, and planes emanate with light and color.
The magic of Rosol’s work is the ultimately harmonious feeling of balance it provides: of light and dark, hard and soft, reality and perception, tension and ease, and solidity and ethereality. From certain perspectives the sculptures may appear as mere figments of light’s imagination, but they are in fact the material creations of a master of his craft.
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
Kanazawa Museum, Japan
Moravian National Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum, of Arts & Design, NY
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT
The Bavarian State Prize for Glass Sculpture Munich, Germany - 1981