Christine Barney

Christine Barney working in the studio

Christine Barney working in the studio

I was born and raised near Corning, New York, where my father, a physicist, worked for the Corning Glass Works in research and development. An early memory from my childhood is playing “hide and seek” with my brothers in the Corning Museum of Glass. This was in the nineteen fifties, when the museum was dark and quiet with infrequent visitors.

Many years later on Murano, my family history was vital in my acceptance as a student in Italy where glassmaking is a family business. A two-year apprenticeship from 1985 – 1987 with Livio Seguso taught me to concentrate on my own relationship with glass as a unique material. I learned how to design for production as well as the fundamentals of sculpture at the furnace.

Glass is an actual physical object and also an idea, a material where light has a natural voice. With a deep interest in transparency, my work focuses on solid glass sculptures made at the furnace. The hot glass work is accomplished in Corning, New York and the sculptures are constructed in my studio in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The density of the sculptures made at the furnace conceals an unknowable mix of movement and fluidity frozen in situ during the creation of the solid piece. By cutting apart the dense glass blocks, the energy of the hot glass process is revealed. Color and light jump from real space to glass space, which is a transparent volume. I engage actual positive/negative space with volumetric space that is within glass. One slides into the other. This ability to merge inner form and outer shape separates glass from all other materials.

My work in glass has been featured in numerous gallery exhibitions since 1979 and in included in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of American Glass, Merck & Co., Tropicana Products and Centeon Pharmaceutical. I have received two fellowships from Wheaton Arts in Millville, New Jersey and two visual arts fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.