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SARAH VAUGHN Reminiscence

May 5 - July 1, 2017

One prominent aspect of the studio glass movement is the bravado with which the most gifted artists push for technical brilliance. The example was set by the glass blowers of the Pacific Northwest who seem to possess singular visions and awesomely powerful bodies. For many of the most important artists working in glass formal and aesthetic concerns remain central to the work. The makers exert their prowess upon the molten shapes to re-affirm the harmony that is revealed in proportion, form and color.


Recently I have noticed that a new group of artists are taking a different approach to the material. For artists like Sarah Vaughn the forms are demanded by the emotions the artist seeks to convey. The figure’s attitude, posture and aura is defined by the meaning the artist seeks to share. The use of glass in these artist’s work is informed by things like the permanence of the material- and the tragedy of its fragility. Sarah Vaughn isn’t denying the rich decorative qualities of glass as a material but she is working in a different direction, choosing to explore the possibilities of expressing deep and personal feelings in a demanding and difficult medium.


Sarah Vaughn’s figurative sculpture Relentlessly Questioning finds our heroine pulling flower petals in search of the prophetic one amongst the bunch. She is oblivious to the sad farce of the thousands she has discarded into an ever-growing heap. The tableau resonates with the intensity of the artist’s own search for meaning in figurative works that are deeply expressive, unabashedly personal and self-reflective. Many of these figures seem to be struggling with heavy baggage or at least a large suitcase like the woman, who is so perfectly presented, in Dissociative Burden. The figure and her suitcase seem to be engaged in something between a dance and a tug-of-war.


The works in this exhibition are very small, especially for the emotional punch that they pack. Though many of the figures are posed in what can easily be read as forlorn postures there is clearly an inner strength being conveyed in several of the works. Standing on a tall stage of books the figure in Vol 1-32:  Standing on the Edge of What I Think I Know seems dizzied yet curious about her precarious perch and the vertiginous view. Even the figure in Dissociative Burden looks ready to give her suitcase everything she’s got.


Sarah Vaughn is an artist from a very small town in downstate Illinois. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art at Southern Illinois University Vaughn received her Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is currently an Artist–In-Residence at the Glass Wheel Studio in Norfolk, Virginia. This is one of the artist’s first one-person exhibitions. Previously Vaughn’s work was included in the group exhibition, Original Voices 2015 at this gallery.


Ken Saunders 2017


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