Architect: Mehrdad Yazdani /Cannon Designs
Located in Buffalo, NY, the HWI is an independent not-for-profit biomedical research facility. Its motto, The Cures Begin Here, guides its research by creating strategies and technologies to promote the understanding, prevention, and treatment of many diseases.
The HWI wished to use the glass of the building’s faÃ§ade to communicate its work to the public, and to reinforce the significance of its staff with visual and symbolic emphases. Scientists working at the HWI introduced me to their research and to its methods. Consulting with these researchers in person initiated the development of the window’s design, one that represents the Institute’s transfigurative accomplishments. The abstract composition with its shapes as packing structures, its lines as mathematical formulae and its circles as diffraction patterns and protein structures, involves their being sandblasted on all four layers of insulated glass, which allows the images to overlap and to interact in the eye of the viewer, and to be both aesthetically pleasing and meaningful.
The facility’s sandblasted glass facade illustrates artifacts of the actual research being conducted within the building, including x-ray crystallographic diffraction patterns; a mathematical formula created by Herbert Hauptman known as the minimal function; the insulin protein structure; and elements of cell formation known as packing structures. The elements of the composition form a cohesive statement, one that highlights the community’s identity as an organization devoted to seeking a cure for diabetes.
Powers of Ten: Ho Science Center
Architect: Shepley Bullfinch
Colgate University’s Science Department commissioned the creation of an art glass design for its main staircase that would make use of the conceptual framework of the Powers of Ten, and by so doing, to emphasize and illustrate the breadth and diversity of its science curriculum. I worked with a committee of faculty from diverse areas of scientific study in order best to choose images that would vividly define each of the University’s fields of scientific study. The images are organized by beginning at the bottom of the stairwell with the lowest powers, such as sub-particulate matter, and then ascending step by step (quite literally) to the highest floor of the building, where the images of the greatest powers, such as colliding galaxies, are sandblasted onto the balustrades. Its sandblasted imagery not only distinguishes each discipline practiced in the Center, it also, as it proceeds along the glass balustrades of the central staircase from its basement to the planetarium on its highest floor, provides a metaphor for ascension in space, time, and knowledge.
Keck Center Colgate University
Architect: Tai Soo Kim Partners
The objective of this design was to divide a single space into one that could accommodate at least two activities at once, and to do so with a single light source, and this was accomplished by creating glass dividing walls. The glass walls successfully maximize available light by screening, but not obscuring, vision, and by inviting its sandblasted imagery to allude to the study of the Humanities that takes place within its confines.
The Keck Center is a language laboratory and a meeting place for the Humanities. The glass walls dividing the lab from the center are insulated and sandblasted with images of classical Greek sculpture that have been extracted from their contexts and reconfigured into separate tableaux, each one representing a discipline taught in humanistic study.
Jumping Into The World: Hamilton Public Library
The Hamilton Public Library commissioned an art glass design for the front entrance to its building. Because light was limited, sandblasted clear glass was specified. The art glass divides the vestibule from the library’s interior, and is back-lit by the entrance. The design, one that is sandblasted on both sides of its glass, attempts to capture–especially for young readers who are entering the library–how joyfully falling into the limitless world of knowledge may indeed feel.
The images represent figures jumping into a swirling constellation of handprints, each composed of tiny dots, or stars, that represent the galaxy of our shared universe, and our shared humanity. The handprints allude to petroglyphs that have been found in prehistoric sites. The handprints represent anonymous individuals working cooperatively, and provide a metaphor for community. Spinning around the panel’s galaxy are spheres that represent distinct fields of study that can be explored within any library.
Nature Nurture: Hamilton Central School
Hamilton Central School wished to enliven the entry ways for both its elementary and high school wings. Visibility and light were of utmost importance, so sandblasting the insulated glass of the entries provided an ideal solution. The project’s themes of growth and nurture led to the choice of the Fibonacci number sequence as the key for understanding the imagery for the high school. Although many of the natural elements in the elementary entrance also have allusions to Fibonacci, its art predominantly addresses the concept of nurture in nature, and thus, hidden in the high grass can be found the distinct developmental stages of a monarch butterfly as an owl watches from her nest, and so on.
Additional imagery alluding to the Fibonacci number sequence as observed in the natural world include the logarithmic spiral of a weather pattern (a hurricane), the bones of a human hand, and the packing sequence of podded sunflower seeds. All of the imagery visualizes the relationship of a mathematical sequence to the natural world, while it simultaneously highlights the intimate correspondence between them, and thus evokes wonder.
Quick Fine Arts Center, St Bonaventure University, St Bonaventure, NY
Architect: Flynn Battaglia
The architects defined two projects that I then helped to develop and design. The Quick Fine Arts Center’s exterior glazed terra cotta panels represent the fine arts that are practiced within the building; they also allude to other decorative terra cotta ornamentation that enhances many other buildings on campus. The interior hanging glass sculpture suspended in the atrium of the Fine Arts Center is composed of numerous clear and dichroic glass panels sandblasted with the donors’ names in order to commemorate their part in the creation of the center. The glass cascades in the brightly lit space, thus reflecting and transmitting color on the atrium walls. Six glazed terra cotta relief panels, each representing the arts of dance, theater, music, painting, sculpture, and film, adorn its faÃ§ade.
Business School: U CONN Storrs, CT
Architect: Mark Simon/ Centerbrook Architects and Planners
The Connecticut Percent for Art program commissioned me to create art glass for the Business School at UCONN Storrs. The objective was to design a program of glass that would resonate throughout the building, and at the same time, by unifying color and design, to invite these asymmetrically shaped windows to welcome the glass they configure. Stained, leaded, and sandblasted glass panels are incorporated into the windows of the Business School, and extend from its atrium to its board room, offices, entry ways, and study areas. The central sandblasted theme illustrates abstracted furrows of plowed fields in reference to the University’s origin as a land-grant agricultural foundation as well as it does to its present objective, and that is to till the soil of intellectual growth.
Dempsey Health Center: U CONN Farmington, CT
Architect: Tai Soo Kim Partners
The Connecticut Percent for the Arts program sponsored a competition to create art glass for the interior space of a large cafeteria in the hospital. The hospital wanted to have the potential to divide the space for daily use, but also occasionally to open it broadly for special events. I won this competition by proposing to create wood and glass screens that would slide on ceiling tracks, and that may be locked in place when open, or folded and moved aside.
Guaranty Building: Buffalo, NY
Architect: Louis Sullivan
The Guaranty Building fell into decline over the years, and most of its beautiful exterior and interior details were obscured by renovations, including the placement of a cast iron and stained glass skylight over the lobby. The entire building was saved at the last minute from the wrecking ball and completely renovated. I was commissioned to restore the stained glass ceiling.
Cedarcrest Hospital: Newington, CT
In a competition for the Connecticut Percent for the Arts Program, five artists were selected to design a series of dividing walls separating a long corridor from a dining area. I proposed that a single motif be used to unify the space visually, and to evolve as the viewer walked by. This motif became a white ribbon swaying through a series of bays, moving and rippling as the viewer perambulates the corridor. I won the competition, but the hospital was decommissioned, and the project remains incomplete with the exception of the two panels pictured here. These images demonstrate the incomparable richness of color of mouth blown glass in combination with beveled painted and sandblasted glass.
Yale University, Timothy Dwight College, New Haven, Ct:
The concept for the window was to embody the students’ experience of living in a residential college at Yale. I was asked to use the college’s coat of arms, and did so by animating the figure of its lion, and reinventing his pose. The window illustrates Timothy Dwight College’s coat of arms–a standing lion–and then translates its motto from the Latin into English: “Someday, perhaps, it will be pleasant to remember all this.” The lion has one eye open, and he’s gazing out. His other eye is closed, or looking inward. He’s keeping his book of devotions–in the form of flowers and remnants of poetry–in the window’s margins. He renders his devotions in blue ink, using a flag pole as his stylus. Half-awake amidst the chaos of spilt ink, while resting on a scroll bearing his College’s motto and painting with his tail, the lion implies just how and why it might be pleasant to “remember all this” of one’s undergraduate days, and just how challenging such remembering might be, given the extent and the nature of the fun one is clearly having.
Cornell University Seal: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
This painted crest represents the official seal of Cornell University.
NY State Bar Association, Albany, NY
Design Consultant: Gretchen Sullivan Sorin
The NY State Bar’s complex of buildings houses offices, an art gallery, and five historic 19th century row houses. I was commissioned to create a period style trompe l’oeil glass installation that would appear to be a view of the Hudson through a large bay window. Although the ornamental frame surround for what had been the passage between the parlor and dining rooms existed, the redesign of space eliminated one room. Using the frame, I designed a large bay window with hidden hinges so that the panels could be easily installed, and the backlighting pocket concealed and maintained.
The scenic depiction is of the Hudson river valley as one of the Hudson River school painters might have rendered it.
Death On A Pale Horse, After William Blake’s Illustration
A sample of traditional grisaille (monochromatic) painting, and silver stain on glass.
Peaceable Kingdom, after Edward Hicks Hamilton Community Memorial Hospital
The window is a liberal interpretation of one of the artist Edward Hicks’ prevailing inspirations. He explored numerous versions of this theme throughout his life. It is sandblasted, painted, and leaded stained glass. It is installed in the Hospital’s ICU waiting room.
Creation Window, St Thomas Church Episcopal Church
The window was commissioned by the St Thomas Episcopal Church. Its theme is the day of Creation according to Christianity. I pictured the first day with the work of the earth’s creation almost completed, near dusk in a woodland stream. Inspired by the natural landscape of central New York, I chose to design the window using a natural rock formation to frame the stream. Regional flora and and fauna are hidden in the design of the window better to enhance the delight of finding them.
The Sacrifice of Abraham and Isaac, After Rembrandt ‘s etching
Moby Dick, Ater Rockwell Kent’s illustration
9/11 Memorial, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, Cazenovia, NY Artist, Denise Stillwaggon Leone
The 9/11 Memorial is a glass sculpture comprised of eight panels that are sandblasted, painted, and configured to resemble the four corners of the World Trade Towers. The sculpture allows the viewer to pass through its center. By moving in and around it, its overlapping imagery constantly evolves.