Michael Glancy

As elegant as they are complex, the glass sculpture by the American artist Michael Glancy punctuates a high level of innovation in the realm of studio glass art.

Glancy was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1950, and began working with glass at the age of 20. He earned an MFA in glass in 1980 from Rhode Island School of Design, where he currently teaches.

He was initially drawn to the fire and smoke of glassblowing as a student of Dale Chihuly at RISD and later at the Pilchuck Glass School.

But Glancy wanted to create new objects — something that hasn’t been seen, and something of exquisite quality.

He mastered carving, sandblasting, grinding, and engraving glass in its cold state. But his signature technique became electroforming glass.

This process involves applying a thin layer of a precious metal, such as copper or silver, onto blown glass, and then bathing it in acid.

When it comes to glassblowing, Glancy prefers the Swedish style of heavy-wall vessels, which can accommodate his deep carving he need to achieve the form and mood effects.

The final designs typically include a foot, or a base.

He paints the entire object with a stencil using electricity-conducting paint. When he removes the stencil, the paint remains in the carved areas. And because glass is an insulator that does not conduct electricity, the process creates a dramatic differentiation between the glass and metal surfaces.

His cellular and geometric designs begin as drawings referencing the natural world. In 2014, his first solo exhibition at Heather James Fine Art was called Michael Glancy: Molecular Aesthetics.

Glancy has exhibited internationally, and his work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Musee des Beaux-Arts.