Like many of my favorite glass artists, sculptor Brian Russell came to glass by a circuitous route. He began his pursuit of the arts in the late 1970s with black and white photography. After a few years photographing the human form, he decided to explore what his hands could create. In 1981, Russell switched his focus to sculpture.
“Sculpture is a vital element in our visual environment. The creation of objects that exist in three dimensions whose purpose is to stimulate reflection, meditation, awe and amusement is as unique to humans as it is ancient… I draw inspiration from forms and rhythms in nature, ancient artifacts, mathematics and science, distilling these influences into abstract points of intersection.”
Rather than focusing on one thing, Russell explored a wide variety of objects, from the practical (fire screens, furniture, and lighting) to the purely artistic. Moving from wood to stone to steel, he found himself most satisfied with (and widely acclaimed for) welding works of art. Interested in incorporating more color in his work, Russell experimented a bit with fused glass and pate-de-verre, but he mostly continued working primarily with metal for nearly two decades. Then in 1998, Russell decided to further pursue glass work, and he hit upon just the right marriage between metalwork and glass. He calls these pieces Hemispheres, and they’re incredibly graceful and satisfying. As Russell says, his hands have finally found their purpose.
All images property of Brian Russell.