The above quote would certainly relate to our Staff “Pick of the Month”, “Wild Orchard”, and to the vision of the artist who created it, Christopher Ries.
“Ries takes pride in his ability to create monumental pieces from cast crystal blocks” and “while (some) works are literally heavy, their essential transparency allows them to have an incredible “lightness of being”, which is part of the profound meaning of the work-[his] inspired forms and exquisite craftsmanship are responsible for the pure visual pleasure a viewer experiences from his sculpture.”
– Annegreth Nill and Irvin Lippman, from the Preface
and Acknowledgments in the Columbus Museum
of Art Catalogue, 2001.
Blown glass artist Christopher Ries grew up on a farm near Columbus, Ohio. Following receipt of a BFA in glass and ceramics from Ohio State University in 1975, he worked as an assistant to Harvey K. Littleton at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ries was awarded an MFA in glass in 1977 from Madison, and although he initially blew glass, by the late 1970’s he was sculpting glass cold by cutting, grinding and polishing it in his studio and home.
He acquires blocks of pure, clear lead crystal cast at Schott Glass in Duryea, Pennsylvania, where he also now serves as artist-in-residence. Some of his works are the largest, whole, unassembled pieces of sculpted crystal known.
“I have chosen a pure material and a pure form”, Ries says. “It is analagous to singing a cappella. Few singers have such a pure voice that they can rivet you in time and space, but it can be an even more powerful experience than singing with accompaniment and embellishment.”
This attentiveness toward the purity of form and detail is evident not only in the artist’s work, but in the life he has created with his wife and four children in their rural homestead near the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Here a lovingly restored barn houses the workshop, studio, gallery space and guest accommodations, while the family shares an 1830’s farmhouse and one room schoolhouse built by Chris.
In these surroundings, Ries produces his art, and through this art brings beauty to his life, the lives of those around him, and to all who have the pleasure of experiencing his unique, inspirational sculptures.
“The glass art of Christopher Ries is deceptively simple in form but complex in expression as it engages each viewer in an ever-changing intimate world of images.”
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