There are two small scale intriguing exhibits that just opened at Urban Glass this week. The Power of Pop is a show of about a dozen works in stained glass by NYC-based artist Joseph Cavalieri, who applies this traditional medium to modern pop icons, making for a juxtaposition that carries heavy undertones of irony and irreverence, but don’t distract from his artistry. He has a great sense of color and composition, which is quite evident in “Lay Back and Think of England” where portraits of a young Queen Elizabeth II are arranged on a checkerboard arrangement of red, green, orange and yellow squares with subtly different designs. The opening piece, whose red fist just about pushes out of the frame is a standout, as are his portraits of Jackie O, and Isaac Hayes.
The other show is of a completely different nature, but it too, is the work of a very talented artist. In Problematica, Sarah Briland uses her sculptures to explore ecological issues. Before becoming an artist, Briland had worked as a geological technician in Kentucky, an experience that clearly informs this show. By mixing and manipulating materials such as plastic, paper and glass, Briland mimics the process of their degradation and reincorporation into the earth’s crust. The end results are sculptures resembling geological and biological formations, such as quartz and coral, which cause us to consider the effect our use of man-made materials, especially plastics, has on our environment.
Urban Glass is a wonderful space in Downtown Brooklyn; founded in 1977, it is now the largest artist-access glass center. In addition to their rotating exhibitions, they also host classes (even for absolute beginners), artist talks, and a fabulous gift shop. Be sure to stop by.