Have you ever visited the upstairs art gallery at the Bullseye Glass Resource Center?
The small gallery at 3610 S.E. 21st Avenue in Brooklyn hosts a 'Working Glass' art exhibit each November and December, showcasing glass art created by Bullseye employees with Bullseye products.
'This is our 10th annual employee art show,' beamed Center Manager Janet Bartholomew. 'Since we recently allowed collaborative pieces, more than 35 staff are represented here from nearly every department.
'We look forward to the show each year, because it allows us to share our enthusiasm for glass with friends, family, and creative people in the community. It's also a way for us to introduce our products and classes to the public. Our artist profiles are as interesting as their display pieces. We have a lot of fun bringing the show to life, and exhibiting the efforts of our creative in-house artists.'
This year's exhibit showcased everything from colorful containers and free-form sculpture to wall art and upcycled materials.
A piece by Tom Jacobs called 'Leftovers' is made of kiln-formed, hand-pulled stringer, and 'the leftovers of a previous series!'
A fused and slumped glass Pod Lamp by Paul McNulty is enhanced with cedar, wires, and LED lights. McNulty's description reads: 'I built my first lighting fixture at age 5 using [my] lunch box, and dashboard lights I found in a wrecked Toyota Celica. It actually worked for a few seconds, before the wiring vaporized and it caught fire.'
As in previous years, the artist bios and accompanying descriptions demonstrated a fine sense of whimsy, as well as creativity. Katina Niebrugge's wall art painting with glass and vitrigraph entitled 'Run Chicken Run' ends with the observation, 'Why did the chicken cross the road?...To get fused.'
A wall display of kiln-formed and cold-worked chip tests encased in bubbled glass is the collaborative work of five members of the Marketing Department. Their final comment was: 'Why let all those beautiful chip tests from QC go to waste?'
All employees got to vote on their favorite pieces by mid-November, and 10 cash prizes were awarded. 'We give awards to the top three in 'Functional', 'Non-functional' and 'Newcomer' categories, and there is also a President's Choice award,' revealed Bartholomew. 'It's very unique for a company to have a show of this calibre done by its employees. We also have a full-time gallery in the Pearl District.'
Some of these art pieces are for sale; some are not. A mixed media and kiln-formed glass creation made by Melody Kennedy entitled 'Flapjacks' looks good enough to eat. Exhibited art uses fused, powdered, frit, kiln-formed, torch-worked and cold-worked glass, among other types.
A pastel wall-mounted glass axe lends a philosophic aspect to the concept of power. A large 3-foot by 4-foot painting made with glass, frit, and powder draws the viewer into a remarkable scene of shadowed bridge columns and bright windows. Called 'Et in Arcadia Ego', the work is by Michael Endo, who explained, 'I create spaces.'
This art exhibit awards prizes, and here were this year's top four winners: 'Newcomer Artist' Chris Biegun won both first place and the President's Prize for 'Axe #1'. First place for functional art was Paul McNulty's 'Pod Lamp 1.2'. First place for non-functional art went to Michael Endo, for his wall scene depiction 'Et in Arcadia Ergo'. And, as for those glass flapjacks? Although they're still inedible, they earned second place for Melody Kennedy in the non-functional art category, as well as third place in the First Time Artist category.
The Bullseye Resource Center's 'Working Glass' art exhibit is a treat of literary and artistic endeavors. The mezzanine art gallery is open during the same hours as the Resource Center, seven days a week.