Steven Weinberg has been innovating and designing enigmatic worlds cast into solid optical crystal since the 1970's. Co-founding Kastal to introduce a new era in cast crystal based on his extensive tradition and to develop commercial products inspired by his art, Weinberg is breaking the mold, again. His studio is proud to release these new limited edition pieces to mark the birth of the new company and the celebration of a master artist.
Photos: Gene Fontaine | Click image to view more
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Photos: Gene Fontaine | Click image to view more
This new piece displays a gorgeous scalloped top which produces a choppy ocean effect, obscuring the submerged alien world of frozen metallic spheres awaiting below. The sea of spheres creates repeating wave forms while interior reflections present the viewer with worlds within worlds. The clean, tight geometries, are decidedly modern.
And so it is that the vast sea has forever captured the human imagination. Living much of his life surrounded by ocean in diminutive Rhode Island, 'the Ocean State', the sea has always had a powerful influence on Weinberg and his work. His original abstracted boat forms seen below were inspired in part by the cross sections of boat hulls. Here translated into solid crystal and imbued with streaming bubbles heading for an unreachable surface, the boat hull becomes indistinguishable from the surrounding water that defines its purpose. Technically speaking, the controlled spheres are a marvel. But, lest we become too easily enamored, Weinberg leaves little doubt that he is by all measures a salty dog and that ocean life is frequently stormy, and not at all calm and "glassy". His starkly beautiful buoys are testament to that fact.
Earthy and solemn, with weather scarred surfaces and gritty textures that are incredibly lifelike, the buoys are the working symbols of the sea's corrosive beauty. Cast from found objects, their diverse shapes reflect differing cultural stories but speak of a singular purpose: the sea as a way of life. Many are Native American designs and bear cryptic markings such as in the fine example seen above, far right. Weighing perhaps 30 lbs or more, composed entirely as they are of solid crystal, these buoys are wonderfully juxtaposed: rough metalized exteriors unexpectedly give way to clear, optically fine interiors. The sea is full of contradictions and so too, is Weinberg.
Steven Weinberg has always been interested in ocean and sea themes. Exploring abstract water concepts through the complex use of trailing spheres and suggested motion, his early boat forms were inspired by the cross sections of boat hulls. More direct references were struck with the introduction of his critically acclaimed buoy series. The buoy pieces eschewed the traditional notion of reflective and transparent glass, instead marrying crystal with metalized surfaces that recall the earthy nature of these iconic objects (see below). The new work charts a different course. Geometrically ordered arrangements of rising spheres live beneath unusual lensing treatments. The combined effect of watery motion, submerged wave forms, and trapped spheres, create worlds that are at once, futuristic and primordial. Here, the artist has captured the essence and paradoxical nature of glass, which technically, is neither a liquid nor a solid. These dynamic pieces are studies in frozen movement.
Return of the Cube
Return of the Cube
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Steven Weinberg's return of the cube. The cube series has always been a collectors favorite and quite a few adorn the halls of revered art institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Instinctively breaking from the early trends of free form blown shapes emerging out of the American Studio Glass Movement, Weinberg found himself drawn to the mass and solidity of the cube, a pure geometric form. Conjuring surreal chimerical worlds within its rigid environs became an obsession. Relying on an almost preternatural feel for the delicate compositional changes occurring in the glass as it morphs in the precisely controlled kiln, Weinberg and his studio disciples methodically will the frozen world into being. They capitalize on the refractory nature of the material and the sheer clarity that only heavily leaded crystal can provide. Weinberg's signature veiling, conical cavities, stepped features, and frozen spheres are, through illusory reflection, multiplied to maximum effect. Ghostly veils of pale ether flow down Escher-like steps that lead to impossible directions and sweep over the carefully mapped landscape like the ethereal wings of some mystical deep sea ray. The Weinberg Studio has reawakened the crystal deities and is once again paying homage to the hexahedron with this new Kastal release. These cubes are smaller in scale, allowing for a new generation of collectors to gain access to pieces sharing the same lineage as the originals. A body of work that can legitimately be called Studio Glass Icons. The long hiatus is over: the return of the cube is here!
Photos: Gene Fontaine
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What on earth are they? Are they earthly at all? Or embryonic alien seed pods suspended in extraterrestrial amnion, ready to hatch a superior intelligence on an unsuspecting world? Or maybe a subterranean ancestral offspring of the long sought missing link, divine bacterium, microscopic worms wiggling their way up out of the primordial ooze? Or ... just bubbles in glass. Would you know if we didn't tell you? Bubbles in glass. Crystal worlds that without scale, spiral in to sub-atomic infinity or out to infinite space. Frozen spheres holding small capsules of the earth's atmosphere inside glassy metallic skins. They're certainly not those seedy bubbles in your grandmothers antique hurricane lamp shade. Thought provoking we think. There's a running joke in the company that while raw glass suppliers in Germany, in their ceaseless pursuit to create the finest optical quality crystal possible, go to supreme lengths to rid the glass of even the most microscopic bubbles, Steven Weinberg and his Studio are busy at work putting them back in again! You be the judge ... we think they're pretty cool.