“I think of my work as a story of surface and form. Each blown glass artwork is a canvas, depicting landscape in a variety of abstracted ways; a shimmering moment of reflection, capturing river and sea, coastline, forest and desert, as light passes over and through.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Adam Aaronson
“I think of my work as a story of surface and form. Each blown glass artwork is a canvas, depicting landscape in a variety of abstracted ways; a shimmering moment of reflection, capturing river and sea, coastline, forest and desert, as light passes over and through.” – Adam Aaronson
For Englishman Adam Aaronson, his fascination with glass art began in childhood even as his earliest practices with creating three-dimensional forms drew him to clay. Despite this early artistic interest, Aaronson graduated with a BA Honours in International Relations. It was while working the summer in his family’s London gallery that a chance invitation from glass artist Peter Layton, now one of the “Grand Old Men” of British art glass, to join one of his weekend glass courses proved the catalyst, confirming for Adam Aaronson his fascination with glass.
That was in 1977 and the first few years of his career with glass found Adam Aaronson working with his family to develop the UK’s first gallery devoted entirely to British Studio Glass. Another location followed in 1983 and became a top destination for glass lovers and collectors from home and abroad. In 1986 Adam Aaronson finally decided to make the transition from representing glass art to making it himself; he opened his first glassblowing studio in London. It marked the beginning of his personal journey as a glass artist, and offered both British and international artists the chance to develop their own work through residencies.
As Adam Aaronson developed his career, and fostered others, he exhibited his glass works at international art fairs, including Art London, SOFA New York and SOFA Chicago. With up-market retailers, galleries and museum shops his initial focus, Adam Aaronson transitioned to a focus on commissioned works. Notable commissions included a glass and steel four-poster bed, a seven-story glass staircase balustrade for an Alpine ski chalet, and several glass fountains for the gardens of a private home in the South of France.
Today, having relocated his studios in 2013 from London to a peaceful country location thirty miles away, Adam Aaronson finds his glassworks evolving as country landscapes influence him. “I am inspired by the ceaseless mutability of light on the landscape, [on] the sky and on water,” Aaronson notes. The evolution of style and technique for Adam Aaronson has required lengthy experimentation to achieve control over his coloring process. The work itself is physically challenging but the level of expertise Aaronson has achieved is undeniable. “Now I can work as freely in glass as I might on canvas and it is completely liberating.” Adam Aaronson continues: “For some time my artworks have been moving away from functional forms and have been created to explore the potential of the glass object. In reassessing expectations of vase, cylinder and vessel, I have been developing shapes that act as a raw canvas for the surface imagery.”
For Adam Aaronson glass is the ideal medium to express the idea of continual change: “Its properties are inherently mutable, not only in its molten state but also in the way the play of light creates endless nuances in the finished piece.” Interpretation too is of continual fascination: “I like the ambiguity of colour and contrast, the way in which, for example, a swathe of bright red in a landscape or sunset can be read as fire or flower by different viewers.”
Working spontaneously is the preference of Adam Aaronson, beginning with an outline in his mind’s eye, but this usually evolves as he is working: “The making process that I have developed, the “late colouring” technique, has parallels in enamelling, ceramic glazing, printing and painting. Everything happens with the glass on the iron between 500º and 1100º (C). My palette consists of powdered glass colours, which I lay out on a steel table. The full size hot glass vessel, which has been covered in silver leaf, is rolled over the powders, picking up the first of several layers of colour. Reheating melts the colours onto the surface, and I apply more colours directly onto the vessel, again reheating at each stage to build up tone and texture. When the colours are red-hot they are indistinguishable, so remembering which colour is where, and its intensity, is a bit like a composer writing music, knowing how chords will sound together.”
Adam Aaronson continues to push beyond traditional boundaries and to expand the art world’s view of what is possible to create in glass. Aaronson, with his continuing commitment to other glass artists, spends most weekends teaching his popular half-day courses, “Introduction to Glassblowing for Beginners.”
The glass work of Adam Aaronson has been exhibited around the world and can be found in numerous prestigious private collections. Over the years, he has been commissioned to make work for the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Italy’s venerable Salviati glass studio, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the UK’s National Art Collections Fund and The British Museum, among others. Aaronson’s work has been shown at Sotheby’s Contemporary Decorative Arts exhibition in London, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York City. Adam Aaronson is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen (FSDC), and chairman of their Selection Committee. Adam Aaronson is also a member of many glass related societies and organizations.