Artist brings glass sculpture lecture to Building 10; Chemistry, architecture, engineering discussed with glass media

Visiting featured artist Jonathan Swanz discusses his career as an artist and explains his glass-blown series to an audience in Building 11. Swanz’s exhibit Vibrant Matter will be on display in the gallery in Building 10 from March 31 to April 24.Photo: Alex Quadrini


Visiting featured artist Jonathan Swanz discusses his career as an artist and explains his glass-blown series to an audience in Building 11. Swanz’s exhibit Vibrant Matter will be on display in the gallery in Building 10 from March 31 to April 24.
Photo: Alex Quadrini

Jonathan Swanz, an artist specializing in glass sculptures, visited students in Building 10 to talk about his work and process. Accompanying his talk was a large installation named “Rites of Passage.”

He explained this piece as one of self-reflection, as there are several “portals,” or doorways, made entirely out of mirrors that hang from the ceiling.

Most of the work for this show was made in Louisville, Ky. Swanz also teaches in Hawaii, where he currently lives, and has a special interest in incorporating glass and ceramic art.

In Building 11, Swanz’s sculptures are displayed on reflective tables and stands, emphasizing the reflective properties of glass light and color.

“I made some of the clear pieces in Hawaii and silver pieces in Kentucky, so (the pieces) never met until they got to (Lane),” Swanz said. “I kept saying in my head, ‘I hope this works.’”

“When I went into college I wanted to major in art and double-minor in physics and philosophy,” Swanz said. “My adviser was completely confused.”

Chemistry, architecture and engineering are large parts of his work through the intense process of heating, cooling and spinning.

“With my interest in the nature of materials and how they behave, and working with them in unique ways, trying to take traditional foundations of glass-making, but then approaching it in a unique way; having a knowledge of how things work, coming from physics or biology, it forms the way I approach the material,” Swanz says.

Safety is a big concern with glassmaking and blowing. “You are going to get burned. You have to wear an ammonia respirator,” Swanz said.

The exhibition will run for four weeks, from March 31 to April 24.