Lino Tagliapietra, the man Dale Chihuly calls “the greatest glassblower on Earth,” is the maestro of Murano, the island city located in the lagoon of Venice where glass blowing has been an art since the 13th century.
Apprenticed at age 11 and a master by the time he was 20, Tagliapietra, now 83, blends ancient Italian glass blowing techniques with a modern sensibility, producing glass pieces which are rhapsodies of colour and form.
Already in the permanent collections of major museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and the Danish Royal Museum in Copenhagen, Tagliapietra made his Canadian debut earlier this week with a solo exhibition at Toronto’s Sandra Ainsley Gallery. The show opened May 13 and continues through July 3.
Featuring 18 pieces ranging from a fused mosaic glass panel to figurative sculptures combining geometric shapes and double-helix spirals with gestural marks, The Maestro: Lino Tagliapietra showcases the technical brilliance and experimental innovation behind his art in the round. Tagliapietra doesn’t just blow and shape molten glass (some of it weighing as much as 30 pounds). Rather, he paints with it, approximating the depth, balance, and dynamic rhythms of a Mark Rothko or an Ellsworth Kelly colour field painting.
“I do not invent anything new, I personalize,” says Tagliapietra, humbly, “and that makes it something nobody has done before.”
From May 13 to July 3, 2017 The Maestro: Lino Tagliapietra is on display at the Sandra Ainsley Gallery, 100 Sunrise, Unit 150, Toronto; (416) 214-9490.
Photos courtesy of the Sandra Ainsley Gallery.
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