E-Newsletter : Issue #010 Christopher Ries



Publisher: Kenn Holsten
A free monthly e-newsletter from
Holsten Galleries, Stockbridge MA
Issue #10 – May/June 2004


In This Issue

Quote of the Month

“I saw the angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free.”


Artist of the Month:
Christopher Ries

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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Bronzes by William Morris

Many of our collectors have been fans of William Morris’ art for years, and have recently been asking us why Morris is now experimenting with bronze. We think that the following excerpts from an essay written by James Yood, art critic and essayist, might help to clarify Morris’ attraction to this ancient material which, like glass, has an integral place in the history and psyche of the human race:

“If any material could possibly be more torrid than molten glass, it might just be molten bronze. In some curious way, these two substances, created in unthinkable temperatures, in literal cauldrons of fire, seem to get purified and chastened by their journey into being, survivors of a journey that makes their existence more precious. While bronze and glass have quite different physical properties, they share a common origin in heat and make that remarkable material transition from liquid to solid, and, in special hands, that even more remarkable metamorphosis from raw material into art…

(William Morris has created a series of Bronze castings from archived glass sculptures, and) “these transcriptions of Morris’ glass sculptures are actually reconsiderations … in a fresh medium, sensitive to what that medium can do to contribute nuances to his ideas.

What undoubtedly drew Morris to this project is bronze itself, it’s incredibly distinguished history in the history of human culture. His interest goes far beyond what bronze is, into the realm of what bronzes are, a medium that for thousands of years, (like glass), has been a vehicle for men and women to communicate their most central concerns…A compelling harmony between human and animal is suggested in much Bronze Age art, a fusion of spirit and substance that can carry suggestive ramifications to audiences today. William Morris has always pursued that fusion.

As it has for these thousands of years, bronze can serve this aspiration today; and these bronzes by William Morris both acknowledge the past and challenge the present.”

For further information about William Morris’ bronzes, please contact the gallery at [email protected].


Artists’ News:

Three of our artists, Sonja Blomdahl,
Sidney Hutter
, and Steven Weinberg, have recently returned from a trip to Washington, DC, where they were guests at the White House for the 40th Anniversary of the Arts in Embassies program. They attended a reception hosted by Laura Bush at the White House, and another event at the State Department, hosted by Colin Powell.

The mission of the State Department’s Art in Embassies Program is to be a “global museum that exhibits over 3500 original works of art by US citizens in the public rooms of approximately 180 American diplomatic residencies worldwide.”

Each of these artists have works shown worldwide through this program.



June 3-6: SOFA New York, Park Avenue Armory, Street. Please contact the gallery for catalogues and further show information.

June-August: Summer Glass Invitational, Holsten Galleries has just acquired three new Installations: the “Teal Blue Chandelier” and the “Pale Amber Persian Wall”, both by Dale Chihuly, and the 20(?)Element “Masai”, by Lino Tagliapietra.

Images of these pieces are shown at left.

Additionally this summer we are pleased to be showing a spectacular array of new works by all of our artists, and are welcoming on board three wonderful talents:

Preston Singeltary, Kait Rhoads, and Paul Schwieder. Their work is a wonderful addition to the gallery.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

July 2-Oct. 31: The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA. will be hosting “Presence of Light”, a show exploring the use of light in varying mediums. Glass artist Sonja Blomdahl will be exhibiting works at this show. 

November 5-7: SOFA CHICAGO, Navy Pier, Chicago. Holsten Galleries is proud to exhibit two separate one man shows at SOFA: Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. Both exhibits will include new pedestal works and installations.

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Summer in the Berkshires

A wide array of entertainment and cultural options, including dance, theater, and music are available to summer visitors in the Berkshires. Check out www.berkshires.org for a comprehensive list of area attractions


We Are Here to Serve You

At Holsten Galleries, we pride ourselves in the personalized service we offer collectors around the world. No matter what your level of expertise, we can provide you with whatever information you need to make informed choices.

The best way to work with us is to give us a call, please see the Contact Us page using the link above.

You can also email us at the Contact page using the link above,

We look forward to working with you.


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